Eradicating animal diseases like scrapie is critical to protecting animal health and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the livestock industry.
Scrapie is a fatal disease of sheep and goats. It is also a World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)-listed disease, meaning Canada has international and trade obligations to respond to suspected cases. If scrapie became widespread in Canada, it could result in a loss of markets for live animals, meat and animal genetics.
Not surprisingly, there is a strong willingness within the sheep industry and the animal health community to eradicate scrapie from Canada, as evidenced during the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s response to scrapie at a farm in Eastern Ontario.
The Agency works closely and collaboratively with industry groups to monitor the national sheep flock for scrapie. When scrapie is detected, our response measures are based on internationally accepted science, and are carried out in a humane and respectful manner.
Unfortunately, not all animals infected with the disease show the same clinical signs. The only scientifically proven way to diagnose scrapie is by testing a brain sample.
We understand the difficulty this disease finding has caused the producer in question, and we have been working with her for over two years in a co-operative and respectful manner. We will continue to do so.
Dr. Ian Alexander
Executive Director, Animal Health Directorate
Canadian Food Inspection Agency