Strategic Planning for Scrapie Eradication

Over the past few years, small ruminant organisations have been working with industry, government and producers on the issue of scrapie eradication. Increasing concern over animal health and food safety has created the need for improved and sustainable disease risk mitigation. Outbreak of disease results in economic losses for producers, concern over animal welfare and well-being, increased risk to both domestic and wild animal populations and poses risk to individuals, populations and society. Increasing awareness of direct and indirect links between animal health and human health exists in light of the appreciation of emerging and re-emerging diseases.

Scrapie is a devastating neuro-degenerative disease that affects both sheep and goats, and a disease that is difficult to control given the nature of its incubation period, mode of transmission and duration of infection. An animal can become infected with scrapie at any point in its life, and there is no way to tell definitively where a positive animal became infected. More importantly, once an animal becomes infected, it can shed and share that disease with other animals without showing any clinical signs of the scrapie. Since 1984, 200 Canadian farms have been identified as scrapie source or infected farms. Disease control actions on each of these farms have seen anywhere from 1 animal to 20% of the population destroyed because of scrapie.

National scrapie eradication measures protect the national sheep flock and goat herd

In the small ruminant industry’s continued support of scrapie eradication, a 25 member steering committee made up of producers, industry groups, academia and government agencies has been created and tasked with the development of a strategic scrapie eradication plan. The steering committee has had the opportunity to convene a number of times over the past 4 months and will continue to do so throughout the course of the project’s final year.

The steering committee’s objective is to craft a scrapie eradication plan, designed by industry for industry, that ensures continued viability of the Canadian sheep and goat industries taking into consideration sustainability, profitability and market access. This plan will comprehensively include both the science and staging required to unfold a national eradication strategy that is flexible enough to respond to changes in circumstances and political considerations as they arise.

Stakeholder consultation and feedback are essential to the success of the National Scrapie Eradication Plan, and anyone interested in contributing to the building of this national strategy is encouraged to visit the dedicated web page at:

For more information about scrapie or the National TSE Eradication Plan, visit www.scrapiecanada.ca or contact Scrapie Canada at 866-534-1302.