WASHINGTON — The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is amending regulations regarding the interstate movement of animals to require A.P.H.I.S. approval of livestock facilities that handle sheep and goats in interstate commerce. This includes stockyards, livestock markets, buying stations, concentration points or any other premises where sheep and goats are assembled for interstate commerce.

Facility operators will be required to meet certain minimum standards and other conditions related to the receipt, handling and release of sheep and goats at the facility. They must also comply with certain animal identification and recordkeeping requirements in order to receive A.P.H.I.S. approval.

These standards and conditions are based on existing A.P.H.I.S. regulations related to interstate movement of sheep and goats in order to prevent the spread of scrapie, a fatal, degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system of sheep and goats.

This final rule is scheduled for publication in the April 1 Federal Register and becomes effective May 1.

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