Ruth Correll: New rule for goat ID announced

Ruth Correll • Mar 20, 2018 at 9:07 PM

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture announced a new rule that requires official identification for goats that are transported within the state.

The change will create consistency with surrounding states and with the United States Department of Agriculture’s traceability and scrapie rule, allowing for traceability and easier interstate movement of goats. TDA will be working with goat owners and industry stakeholders to gain compliance by July 1.

The rule is for identification purposes only. There is no additional testing or reporting requirements related to scrapie.

Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system of sheep and goats. Although there is no evidence scrapie poses a risk to human health, there is no current cure or treatment for the disease.

“Scrapie is a serious disease that must be eradicated,” said state veterinarian Dr. Charlie Hatcher. “Having official identification for our goats in Tennessee will significantly improve the chances of accomplishing that goal.”

The most commonly used form of identification for goats is a scrapie tag. Tennessee sheep and goat producers can order the metal ear tag for free through the National Scrapie Eradication Program by calling the local USDA office at 615-781-5314.

The NSEP has reduced the prevalence of scrapie in adult sheep sampled at slaughter by more than 99 percent. Sheep and goat producers who tag their livestock are critical to maintaining traceability and eliminating the last few cases in the U.S. Producers are urged to enroll in the NSEP.

The state veterinarian is responsible for monitoring for and preventing the spread of animal disease, as well as promoting animal health in Tennessee. 

The following is the federal and state regulations on sheep and goat identification requirements at livestock markets, slaughter establishments, shows-exhibitions, change of ownership and movement throughout the state:

Animals that must be officially identified – all sheep regardless of age; all goats regardless of age, except wethers less than 18 months at slaughter. At slaughter means that the wether less than 18 months old is delivered directly to a slaughter establishment by the owner of the flock at birth. At slaughter does not mean delivered for sale at a livestock market or auction.

Types of official identification in Tennessee: 

• registry tattoo that must be accompanied by registration papers.

• official scrapie tag – plastic, metal or RFID.

• electronic identification or microchip with recorded by registry, accompanied by registration papers and reader.

• blue meat tag – if no owner statement to verify flock of birth and/or flock of origin, animals must be tagged with a blue meat tag and go directly to slaughter.

To trace a positive, suspect or exposed animal, official scrapie identification must be linked to market identification and adequate records maintained. Please be aware that Tennessee follows the minimum federal requirement for sheep and goat identification. Other states may have more stringent requirements. Tags and health certificates or owner-shipper statements are required to move animals across state lines. If moving animals out of state, you should contact the destination state prior to moving your animals.

For more information, contact the UT-TSU Extension Office in Wilson County at 615-444-9584. You can also find us on Facebook or visit extension.tennessee.edu/wilson. Ruth Correll, UT Extension-TSU Cooperative Extension agent in Wilson County, may be reached at 615-444-9584 or acorrell@utk.edu.


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