With the New Year quickly approaching, it is a good time to take a look back at the year that was. Below is an overview of Scrapie Canada’s activities in 2009.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed six cases of scrapie in 2009. Four of the cases were atypical scrapie with one case originating in Saskatchewan, one in Alberta and two in Ontario. Two of the six cases were classical scrapie, both originating in Quebec. To follow this issue throughout the year, log onto the CFIA’s website at: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/disemala/scrtre/surve.shtml
A major theme in 2009 was scrapie eradication. During the summer, the CFIA met with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to discuss this matter. The primary message of this meeting was that the USDA is currently on track and resourced for achieving a status of scrapie-free by the year 2017. To accomplish scrapie eradication, the USDA has invested approximately $120 million between the years 2001 and 2009.
At the same meeting, the USDA questioned Canada on its scrapie eradication plans. They wanted to know just how serious Canada was about eradicating the disease and what our true goal is when it comes to scrapie.
The USDA also stated that they will only continue to keep the American and Canadian industries harmonized if Canada’s objective is also total eradication and we fully commit to working towards this. This means Canada will be required to adopt a similar, escalating intolerance to external risks (ie: increasing restrictions on which animals are allowed into the country).
This put Canada into a position to seriously consider its next steps in terms of scrapie. In light of this, Scrapie Canada submitted an application to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriFlexibility Fund to support a nationwide scrapie prevalence study. The U.S. completed a similar study in 2002. At the time of press, Scrapie Canada’s application was still under review; therefore, more information on this project will be released in early 2010.
Switching notes, the National Genotyping Survey came to a close on March 31, 2009. Overall, the three year research project was very successful and provided new genetic information on Canadian purebred sheep genetics. In total, about 9,300 Canadian purebred sheep were genotype tested through this project.
This new data will play a positive role in the Canadian sheep industry by adding to the industry’s knowledge of scrapie; increasing the number of sheep in Canada that have been genotype tested; and providing the industry with valuable information to set up scrapie reducing breeding programs. All of these are important steps forward in moving towards a scrapie-free industry, as well as keeping Canada in line with scrapie initiatives that are occurring in the international agricultural community.
A summary of the project’s final report can be viewed at http://www.scrapiecanada.ca/genotyping-NatSurvey.html or can be forwarded by contacting Scrapie Canada.
The Scrapie Flock Certification Program- Pilot Project was also completed at the end of March 2009. The results of this project provided the industry with new information on the cost of implementing a national scrapie certification program.
Project results showed that it would cost approximately $211,000 per year to fully run a national scrapie certification program. On the producer end of things, results found that on average it costs $250 per year in veterinarian fees to be enrolled on the program. The average time spent on the program was about 14 hours per producer per year.
A summary of the pilot project’s final report can be viewed at http://www.scrapiecanada.ca/2009aug.html or can be forwarded by contacting Scrapie Canada.
Although the pilot project aspect of the Scrapie Flock Certification Program finished in March, the actual program itself did not stop. The program is still currently running and is open to any sheep or goat producer in Canada who wishes to enroll. At the end of 2009, the program has 60 enrolled producers and 13 temporarily enrolled producers. 53 of these are sheep producers and 20 are goat producers.
Scrapie Canada would like to congratulate the following producers who have achieved a Certified status on the program:
For more information, please contact Scrapie Canada at 1-866-534-1302 or email@example.com