NSA notifies sheep breeders of new Scrapie solution to GB/NI breeding stock trade

5th November 2021

The National Sheep Association (NSA) is welcoming changes to scrapie monitoring requirements that will enable the continued movement of breeding sheep to Northern Ireland.
An agreement has now been reached to allow any breeder involved in trade of breeding sheep between Great Britain and Northern Ireland to register for the new scrapie requirements immediately through membership of a new Scrapie Qualifying Scheme (SQS) now available through SRUCs Premium Sheep and Goat Health Scheme.
The agreement with the EU Commission allows a short window, between now and the 31st December 2021, within which farmers can apply to join this scheme and once application is made stock will be deemed to comply with these requirements. Existing MV accreditation remains as it was previously.
NSA Chief Executive, Phil Stocker comments “It is crucial that anyone interested in selling breeding sheep to buyers in Northern Ireland registers for this qualifying scheme within this short time period, unless of course they are already members of the Scrapie Monitoring Scheme. It takes three years to complete the scheme and to have full Scrapie monitored status, but it has been agreed that farmers can trade from day one of entry into this new qualifying scheme (SQS).  However, farmers should also be aware that once in the scheme they will only be able to source incoming stock from other SQS or SMS flocks so the option to join needs careful consideration. At this stage this only applies for farm-to-farm movements and there is more work to be done in relation to establishing any Export Assembly Centres that might bring us back to any level of normality of competitive auctioning in this trade”
Work remains ongoing to try to make trade as smooth as it needs to be, in particular around the guidelines for export assembly centres and the conditions for stock coming from Northern Ireland and having the ability to return if necessary, avoiding a 6-month residency period.
Further details on SQS, the application process and scheme rules are available to download from the SRUC website. Animals from flocks with SQS status will be able to move from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, providing they meet the other requirements of the relevant Export Health Certificate (EHC). Enquiries regarding SQS should be sent to [email protected] or for EHCs please email [email protected].