On September 10, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published a proposed rule proposing changes to its existing scrapie regulations. These proposed changes consist of six major components, along with additional changes to animal movements and recordkeeping. Those primary components are:

·         Aligning the identification requirements for goats with the current sheep identification requirements.

·         Formalizing the use of genetic testing to assign risk levels to sheep;
Providing the APHIS Administrator with the authority to relieve requirements for sheep and goats exposed to scrapie types, such as Nor98-like, that do not pose a significant risk of transmission.

·         Increasing flexibility for how investigations can be conducted and allowing the epidemiology in a specific flock to be given more consideration in determining flock and animal status.

·         Requiring States to meet surveillance minimums to remain Consistent States (surveillance minimums are based on the number of breeding sheep or goats in the state).

·         Moving the following from the regulation to the APHIS website in the form of program standards to allow quicker response to new information, including:

o   List of Consistent States

o   Allowed identification devices and methods and restrictions on their use

o   Disease status classification procedures for flocks and animals

o   Program approved tests for scrapie and scrapie susceptibility and procedures for their use
Specifics on how fair market value is calculated for indemnity purposes.

WEBINAR OVERVIEW

APHIS will host a webinar providing an overview of the proposed rule Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 1:00 - 2:00 pm Eastern Time. The webinar access information follows below.

Webinar Login: http://emsp.intellor.com/login/421426.
Dial-in: After you've connected your computer, audio connection instructions will be presented.

If you need technical support or additional information regarding our events, please visit our portal at http://emsp.intellor.com/portal/usdaaphisPM1, or contact AT&T Connect Support at 1-888-796-6118. If you are unable to join the web conference from a computer, you can find audio only instructions at http://events.uc.att.com/events/integrate/PhoneAccessPage/OCCSAccessNumbers.asp?ExEventID=421426

COMMENT PERIOD

APHIS will accept comments on the proposed changes and the program standards through November 9, 2015. Interested parties can review the proposed rule and/or to submit a comment at:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2007-0127.
Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0127, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2007-0127 or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799­7039 before coming.