The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has announced that requirements around the importation of female sheep and goats into Canada from the US are set to change in the fall of 2009. These changes are in line with the message the CFIA has been communicating to the Canadian sheep and goat industries since 2002, that in the future only flocks and herds that are fully certified (on the Scrapie Flock Certification Program) will be able to export to other countries.
So if we’re concerned about export, why do importation regulations have to change?
As Canada moves towards scrapie eradication we have to tighten up our import protocols to reduce the risk of bringing scrapie into the country. One of the ways this will be accomplished is by establishing import conditions that are in keeping with the policies laid out by the World Organization for Animal Health, more commonly referred to as the OIE.
Current and potential trading partners such as the US, Mexico and South America take into account whether Canada follows OIE regulations when considering trade agreements with us. In the past, when Canada has spoken with South America about trade, they have questioned whether or not our country is OIE compliant. Also, the US has made it very clear that they are trying to follow OIE criteria when it comes to scrapie. They have publicly stated that they are working towards eradication and want to be recognized as “scrapie free” in accordance with OIE standards by 2017.
The latest proposed import changes, which are listed below, are the CFIA and the industry’s next steps in moving towards becoming more OIE compliant and also achieving scrapie eradication.
In addition, new protocol is being proposed for the importation of intact female sheep/ goats going into a flock/ herd that does not expect any deaths for many years; and does not routinely send aged animals to slaughter. For example, the importing flock/ herd would be small groups of rare breeds or animals that are being used for ongoing fibre production.
The new protocol proposes:
The industry has been given the opportunity to voice its thoughts and concerns on the proposed changes before they are finalized. Please send your comments in writing to Scrapie Canada at 130 Malcolm Road, Guelph, Ontario, N1K 1B1 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org