It has been mild, and snow-free, this week and the sheep are delighted to have been able to glean what green things remain in the pastures. They would rather do this than work the ample supply of hay they have been provided. You may wonder, when looking at the photo below and others we have posted, about the ear tags. Pairodox Farm participates in the Scrapie Flock Certification Program which is administered by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service). The certification protocol is lengthy, requiring five years of probationary status before full certification may be granted. Our farm became fully certified in 2011. Scrapie is a neuromuscular disease that affects sheep and goats. It is caused by a prion and is related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease. Unlike mad cow however, scrapie does not appear to be transmissible to humans. Nonetheless, we are pleased to have been certified as a scrapie-free farm.