New Scrapie Funding Approved

Mar 1

March 2010 Scrapie Canada Update

On February 6, 2010, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada approved funding the National TSE Eradication Plan, a project to be administered by the Canadian Sheep Federation, the Canadian Sheep Breeders’ Association and the Canadian National Goat Federation.

A total of $4.5 million was allocated for a three year study that will focus on determining scrapie prevalence in the Canadian sheep flock and goat herd and the continuation of the Scrapie Flock Certification Program (SFCP). The actual project activities are expected to be launched in the next month or so and there will be some new reimbursements available for producers enrolled on the SFCP. An announcement will be made as soon as the details are worked out.

The objectives of the National TSE Eradication Plan are:

The beneficiaries of the National TSE Eradication Plan include:

Below is a written summary of the National TSE Eradication Plan:

This project will determine scrapie prevalence in the Canadian sheep flock and enable the establishment of a clear time frame in which scrapie can be eradicated from Canada. The long-term goal would then be to have Canada recognized internationally as scrapie free after the OIE-recommended seven-year monitoring period. Gaining a status of scrapie free is necessary for Canada to remain competitive in international markets. It will also have a direct impact on maintaining a trading relationship with the U.S. in terms of small ruminants. The U.S. has invested $120 million in scrapie eradication since 2001 and has declared that their country will be scrapie free by 2017. In order to continue a trading relationship with the U.S., Canada must take similar strides.

The project will allow for the development of a business plan specifically focusing on TSE eradication, which will benefit Canadian sheep and goat producers, as well as the Canadian agriculture industry as a whole. The business plan will emphasize risk-management and disease monitoring, thereby contributing to the eradication of TSE’s. The Canadian sheep and goat industries will work together on this plan sharing resources, time and money. Furthermore, information related to TSE’s will also be shared, increasing cost-effectiveness and efficiency.

The continuation of the Scrapie Flock Certification Program compliments Canada’s progression towards TSE eradication. In terms of the Scrapie Flock Certification Program, Canadian sheep and goat producers enrolled on this program are required to close their flocks/ herds and complete annual scrapie surveillance. Participating on this program also allows producers to maintain access to international trading partners, including the U.S. Finally, the continuation of the program will serve to provide confidence to the international community in Canadian sheep and goat breeding stock, genetics and milk products.

The results of this project will benefit the Canadian sheep and goat industries. The first step in eradicating scrapie from Canada is determining its prevalence and secondly, a business plan can be developed focusing on gaining scrapie eradication. Full eradication will save the Canadian agriculture government and industries millions of dollars annually. Reports out of the U.S. have indicated that scrapie costs the country approximately $20 million/ year. The reduction and elimination of scrapie from Canada would also reduce or prevent the destruction and disposal of scrapie infected flocks/herds, which are costly and present animal welfare concerns to both the Canadian livestock sector and consuming public. As well, control and eradication of all TSE’s in Canada is also vital to the health and trade of all livestock commodities. And finally, by enabling producers to implement risk mitigation measures for scrapie, the private insurance sector might be more willing to consider re-insurance of residual financial risk.

For more information about RB and/ or scrapie, please contact Scrapie Canada at 1-866-534-1302 or

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Scrapie Canada's Project Partners

Canadian Sheep Federation

Canadian Sheep Breeder’s Association

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Canadian National Goat Federation

Canadian Food Inspection Agency