Deadline looms for scrapie qualifying status applicants

Sheep farmers in Great Britain, who usually sell sheep to Northern Ireland buyers, are being encouraged to apply for the new scrapie monitoring ‘qualifying status’ ahead of the 31 December deadline.

Since the NI Protocol came into effect, only a very small number of sheep have come into Northern Ireland from GB.

It’s hoped this new qualifying status will allow more farmers here to purchase sheep from GB.

Ulster Farmers’ Union deputy president, David Brown, explained: “GB farmers who export sheep to NI need to urgently apply for scrapie monitoring so that they will immediately gain the new ‘qualifying status’, allowing them to export sheep here.

“The deadline 31 December of this year is fast approaching and, once it passes, you cannot get immediate qualifying status for scrapie monitoring which means flock owners in Britain cannot sell to NI.

“If the GB seller misses this deadline it takes at least three years on the scrapie monitoring programme to achieve ‘controlled risk status’ which would allow them to export to NI.”
For the farmers who successfully obtain the scrapie monitoring qualifying status, they will have to comply with scrapie monitoring status rules.
“Around 9,000 sheep move annually from GB to NI and, since the NI Protocol came into effect, only a very small number of sheep have come from GB into NI,” Mr Brown added.

“This new qualifying status granted to GB flock owners, is an amendment to existing EU trade rules to allow sheep imports into the EU single market which includes NI, without full scrapie monitoring status.

“Hopefully it will allow more NI farmers to purchase sheep from GB, but they must come from the farm where they were born.”
Edward Adamson, National Sheep Association NI regional manager, stated: “The scrapie qualifying status will bring some relief to commercial sheep farmers, but time is of the essence and all those involved need to have joined by the end of the year.
“Unfortunately, for elite pedigree breeders with high value breeding livestock, UK governments lack urgency in putting health certificates in place to allow animals to return to NI from sales in GB and are slow to work with livestock markets on eligible export sales.”
The scrapie monitoring scheme is being facilitated by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

GB flock owners can apply using the following link,

They must get their application signed by a local official veterinarian.
More details can be found at