AUSTIN — Editor’s note: The following letter was submitted by the Texas Animal Health Commission to clarify use of sheep and goat scrapie tags. More information about the TAHC can be found here. and a copy of the letter can be downloaded here (PDF).
Dear Stock Show Stakeholder:
It is nearly that time of the year again! As the excitement builds for another stock show season, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) is sending this letter to help clarify an area of confusion regarding sheep and goat scrapie tags.
TAHC understands that the removal of scrapie tags has occurred in the past due to a lack of understanding regarding the Texas Administrative Code rule.
Texas Administrative Code Title 4, Part 2, Chapter 60, Rule §60.2 (a), states, in part:
“The following classes of sheep and goats shall be identified using official identification eartags and applied before they are moved from the farm for intrastate or interstate commerce, exhibition, or to be commingled with animals from other farms.
____ (1) Animals to be identified:
________ (A) All sheep 18 months of age and older
________ (B) All breeding sheep regardless of age
________ (C) Sexually intact show or exhibition animals”
Therefore, all exhibition lambs and goats that attend an interstate show (major show) must have an official scrapie tag. We realize some stock show rules state that “all eartags are to be removed.” Please know that this statement is implying unofficial herd management tags are to be removed. It is unlawful to remove any official animal ID tag! All official tags possess the USDA shield for ease of identification. These tags must stay in place as they are used to trace the animal to its place of origin and play a major role in the scrapie eradication efforts undertaken by TAHC and USDA-APHIS personnel.
If an issue does arise, know that all major stock show animal health regulations contain the following disclaimer: “Specific TAHC regulations will supersede the Show requirements if there is a dispute between the two in which the Show rules are less restrictive than TAHC regulations.”
TAHC highly recommends tagging each lamb and goat bound for exhibitions and many breeders go ahead and apply scrapie tags to all lambs at the time of sale. This makes great sense as plans can change at the last minute! For example, some exhibitors intend to only show at intrastate county shows and decide late in the season that they will add a major show. Additionally, some animals are purchased as sexually intact and later castrated. Having the scrapie tag in place allows for such changes and reduces last minute stress on you and your animal.
Official eartags help our industry continue to improve the traceability of our livestock as a means of protecting the health and marketability of agricultural animals in the State of Texas. Do not remove them. Furthermore, please use this communication to educate your exhibitors and help spread the word among the stock show community on the important role these tags play in animal traceability and disease eradication. Please contact your regional TAHC office if you have further questions.
The best this upcoming stock show season,
Angela M. Daniels DVM
TAHC Assistant Executive Director of Animal Health Programs
–Texas Animal Health Commission
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