This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
National Scrapie Plan Semen Archive
The Executive has published proposals for the setting up of a Semen Archive to preserve susceptible genotypes that are being removed under the National Scrapie Plan.
The purpose of the archive is to ensure that, should it become necessary, viable populations of the sheep with these genotypes removed through the NSP can be re-established in the future.
The proposals follow representations from sheep industry stakeholders and take account of advice from SEAC and other independent bodies. There is a provision in the European Union legislation for Member States to set up such archives.
The consultation period will run for 12 weeks and ends on May 12, 2003.
A similar consultation is under way in the other UK Rural Affairs Departments.
It is envisaged that the Semen Archive will be launched in summer 2003.
The National Scrapie Plan (NSP) is a voluntary, long-term programme of breeding for genetic resistance.
Proposals for the Semen Archive were drawn up in conjunction with scientific experts and industry representatives and under clear advice from the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (the governments scientific advisory committee) and the EU Commission.
The archive will be NSP funded and industry administered. Once the archive is complete, the management and funding of it will be handed over to a competent industry led body.
For each breed of sheep 20 unrelated rams of each homozygous genotype will be kept. Breed societies will need to be recognised by the NSA and the each society will have their own priorities for the rams to be selected for the archive.
Copies of the consultation paper are available from:
Animal Health and Welfare Department
Tel: 0131 244 6129
Scrapie is a fatal neurological disease of sheep. It has been present in the national flock for over 250 years, but is not transmissible to humans. However, it leads to serious animal welfare problems and its symptoms are not dissimilar to BSE which is a similar type of TSE. The NSP aims to reduce and over time eradicate scrapie from the national flock. This will also have the benefit of removing the theoretical threat of BSE, should there be any scientific evidence that this disease is within the national flock.