SALEM, Ohio – Sheep producers and livestock market owners have until Oct. 25 to get their comments into the USDA about a proposed rule meant to minimize the spread of disease.
The ruling would require facilities that handle sheep and goats in interstate commerce to meet certain criteria. These include keeping records for five years and separating breeding stock from slaughter animals at markets.
Approval. The biggest change is that markets will have to sign a document, promising they are in accordance with regulations, and then USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will approve them to sell sheep in interstate commerce, said Nancy Robinson, Livestock Marketing Association’s vice president of government affairs.
This will just formalize what markets are already doing, Robinson said.
For markets, this isn’t a big deal; it’s just one more regulation to deal with, Robinson said. And if markets are already meeting APHIS regulations, there won’t be a substantial financial burden, she said.
Update. Most of the ruling’s regulations already exist for other livestock, so this would bring sheep up to speed with cattle, bison, hogs and horses, said Paul Rodgers, American Sheep Industry Association’s deputy director of policy.
For example, markets currently have to keep records on sheep and goats for two years because that’s what the scrapie eradication program requires. The proposed ruling, however, would move that up to five years, which is the same as other species, Rodgers said.
Specifics. Other specifics include:
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