Why Do Sheep Need Ear Tags? What Do They Represent? Essay examples

1034 Words Oct 27th, 2015 5 Pages
Why do sheep need ear tags? What do they represent? Are they a requirement? Have any of these questions crossed your mind at some point? Well if they have, your questions are about to be answered. Those ear tags that you always see on the ears of sheep are Scrapie tags. On the Scrapie tag is an identification number that is specific to a particular farm and flock. It is a requirement of the National Scrapie Eradication Program or the NSEP. Scrapies is a fatal disease that can infect sheep and goats, affecting the central nervous system. There is no cure for this disease. Over a time period of several years the number of infected animals in your flock will increase. This would eventually make your flock economically unavailable and more than likely the owner will have significant production losses.
This is where the NSEP comes in because if producers were to sale their flocks, then this could then result in the buyers flock to be infected and so on. So the NSEP requires sheep to be officially identified before leaving the owner’s property, even if it’s just a brief show or exhibition. The only exception to this is sheep under the age of 18 months in slaughter channels or castrated sheep under 18 months. This program began in 2001 and has reduced the number of sheep being infected with Scrapies by 85%. The main purpose of this program is to provide trace back abilities in the event of a Scrapies outbreak. Not only are producers required to identify the animal but also to keep…

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