THE FLOCK

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Sheep Production and Management Plan

Ovis has developed a sheep management plan complete with programs, standard operational procedures (SOPs) and records. Within this plan, Ovis utilizes "good management practices" for the care and use of its sheep to verify individual animal welfare and overall flock health.

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Sheep Safety and Quality Assurance Program

To ensure that customers receive sheep that are healthy, safe and of the highest possible quality, Ovis has implemented the Sheep Safety and Quality Assurance Program (SSQA) developed by the American Sheep Industry Association SSQA.

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Animal Welfare Program

Ovis is a registered research facility (46-R-0007) and licensed class B dealer (46-B-0091) under the authority of the United States Department of Agriculture–Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The registration allows Ovis to conduct contract research on site and the licensure allows Ovis to sell sheep and sheep products (blood, serum, antibodies, tissues) to research organizations. Ovis has an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) that oversees animal welfare and research, reviews the animal care and use program and inspects the facilities for compliance.

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Biosecurity Program

As part of the SSQA Program, Ovis has implemented biosecurity procedures to prevent introduction and/or transmission of animal and zoonotic diseases of concern. Ovis has undergone extensive monitoring and testing and continues to utilize a monitoring/testing program for select disease status. Selected diseases in the monitoring/testing program are:

  • Bluetongue virus

  • Caseous lymphadenitis

  • Foot rot

  • Ovine progressive pneumonia

  • Scrapie (Export Monitored)

  • Brucella ovis

  • Contagious ecthyma

  • Johnes

  • Q fever

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THE BREED

The Ovis sheep flock is of the Cheviot breed which are known for their extreme hardiness, disease resistance and moderate size American Cheviot Sheep Society 

Adult males are typically 160-180 lbs., while adult females are typically 130-150 lbs. Mature females usually give birth to twin lambs. Considered together, these Cheviot breed characteristics make them an excellent animal model for research use.

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National Scrapie Eradication Program

Ovis is a voluntary participant in the National Scrapie Eradication Program which includes mandatory compliance for enrolled sheep producers. The program, which is supported by USDA-APHIS, provides standards and procedures that will identify, monitor, control, and eradicate scrapie (Scrapie Flock Certification Program www.aphis.usda.gov). Ovis (flock ID: SD02) is enrolled in the Export Category which monitors the flock for evidence of scrapie. If conditions are met, monitoring and sampling under the Export Category will lead to Export Certified status and recognition of negligible scrapie risk.

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Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship

Ovis uses a valid Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) to ensure the proper maintenance of overall sheep health and Ovis’s focus on flock pathogen reduction. Within the VCPR, veterinarians provide Ovis with professional services for maintaining the health and well-being of the flock. All sheep purchases and research projects include a “certification of health” letter from the flock veterinarian.

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