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February 2010 Scrapie Canada Update

Comparing Scrapie Programs–U.S. and Canada

Canada has been working on scrapie eradication since the 1950s. Current Canadian programs include:

  • A Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program.
  • An eradication and compensation program for flocks/ herds that are tested positive for scrapie.
  • An identification and traceability program for sheep.
  • National and provincial surveillance in sheep and goats.

In the past, Canada completed a three year national genotyping project for purebred sheep.

The U.S. has been working on scrapie eradication since 1952. Current American programs include:

  • A Scrapie Flock Certification Program.
  • An eradication and compensation program for flocks/ herds that are tested positive for scrapie.
  • A regulated inter-state sheep and goat ID program.
  • A national surveillance program in sheep and goats

When it comes to flock certification, Canada and the U.S. have comparable programs. Both programs require producers to work with a scrapie accredited veterinarian completing annual inventories of all sheep and goats on the property. Producers on both programs must also track any incoming and outgoing animals and must complete scrapie brain testing.

Canada’s program offers three pathways to producers, as does the U.S. program. Canada’s Pathway 1 is comparable to the U.S. program’s Export Monitored Pathway. They are both OIE compliant, meeting international trade regulations.

Currently in Canada there are 60 producers enrolled on Pathway 1 and one producer enrolled on Pathway 3.

In the U.S., there are 48 producers on the Export Monitored Pathway and 1,686 producers on the Complete Monitored Pathway. The Complete Monitored Pathway has more lenient regulations and is not compliant with OIE guidelines. See comparison charts for more detailed information.

Canada and the U.S. are quite similar in terms of their scrapie eradication and compensation program. Both countries’ infected flock clean up programs are risk based using genetics (genotyping) and compensation is offered for all animals ordered destroyed. Genotyping is not a possible option for goats but all goats ordered destroyed are compensated in both Canada and the U.S.

The two major areas where Canada and the U.S. differ in their scrapie initiatives are identification and surveillance. In 2000, the U.S. developed and implemented an inter-state identification program for all sheep and goats in the country. To date, Canada has a national ID system in place for sheep but not for goats.

Canada is not equal to the U.S. when it comes to surveillance numbers either. Not only has the U.S. been completing scrapie surveillance for a longer period of time than us, they complete more of it; therefore their numbers are a lot higher than ours. As part of the National Scrapie Eradication Plan, the U.S. has three national surveillance components, which completes surveillance on-farm and at slaughter facilities. Surveillance was also made a priority in the U.S. with the 2002 Scrapie Ovine Slaughter Surveillance study where scrapie prevalence in the U.S. was determined.

Canada does complete surveillance on a national level but at this time the numbers are not comparable to the U.S. In Canada, sheep and goats are tested for scrapie on-farm through the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program and at slaughter facilities by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency; however, due to low producer uptake and lack of resources, Canada has just not been able to meet the U.S. surveillance numbers.

Two Sheep

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