Sheep and Goats

Denmark has taken the first step towards being declared free of classical scrapie. Denmark has received approval for a change in its enhanced surveillance for scrapie/TSE in small ruminants. This means that, on the basis of the large number of scrapie/TSE tests of sheep and goats since 2003 when Denmark started to test all dead and destroyed sheep and goats over 18 months, Denmark is reducing the number of scrapie tests prescribed to the minimum in EU legislation. The important thing about the approval is that Denmark can reduce the number of tests without losing the right to require additional guarantees for imports of sheep and goats. Additional guarantees will ensure that Denmark does not acquire classical scrapie with the importation of sheep and goats from non-scrapie-free countries, so that we can reach the status of being free of classical scrapie.


Denmark's status as being free from classical scrapie awaits a radical amendment of the EU's TSE Regulation 999/2001 in the area of sheep and goats. Until this amendment is adopted, and hopefully Denmark thereby achieving its status as free from classical scrapie, scrapie tests are to be carried out in accordance with the rules in the TSE Regulations. This means that Denmark shall carry out annual sample testing of fallen and killed sheep and goats over 18 months according to the size of the population of sheep and goats. With Denmark's population of sheep, this means that each year a sample test of 1,500 TSE tests of fallen and killed sheep over 18 months. For goats there shall be annual sample tests of 100 TSE samples for fallen and killed goats over 18 months. Denmark is ceasing to TSE test all fallen and killed sheep and goats over 18 months.


The adoption of this measure does not change the rules governing trade/export of breeding sheep and goats in the TSE Regulations. These rules are contained in the TSE Regulations' Annex VIII, Chapter A, part I a) ii) and are unchanged since their adoption and have been in force since 1 July 2004.


This means that breeders who want to export sheep and goats for breeding will continue to have all fallen and destroyed sheep and goats over 18 months from the herd TSE-inspected. Therefore, farmers who export sheep and goats for breeding must remember that they now have to themselves ensure the removal of TSE samples from fallen and killed sheep and goats over 18 months when they are sent to Daka. This can be ensured by using blue ear tags which can be ordered through RYK. Sheep/goats with these blue tags are removed for TSE testing at Daka in Randers.


The EU Commission has been working more quickly than expected and the approval came into force on 18 March 2012. Therefore, the change will come into force with immediate effect.


EU rules allow for lambs/kids being marked with only one ear tag if they are slaughtered in the country of origin before they are 12 months old. Producers can choose to use ear tags with either CHR or CKR No. - it is entirely up to the individual. If such lambs/kids that are only marked with one ear tag become older than 12 months, they should then be marked with two tags with a CKR No.


The above means that Daka generally only reports sheep/goats for missing ear tags when they have no tags at all. In practice it is impossible for a driver to assess whether an animal is above or below 12 months old.

For more information

Contact the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration



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