The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has announced that requirements around the importation of female sheep and goats into Canada from the U.S. are set to change at the end of June 2010.
These changes are in line with the message the CFIA has been communicating to the Canadian sheep and goat industries since 2002: 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 is accomplished is by establishing import conditions that keep in line with the policies laid out by the World Organization for Animal Health, more commonly referred to as the OIE. Such is the case with the June 2010 changes.
The changes that are being implemented were announced to the industry in January 2009. The industry was given the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes and did so a few months later after collecting letters and opinions from producers and stakeholders. In the summer of 2009, the CFIA met to review the industry’s comments and made a decision on which changes would be implemented. This decision was announced in November 2009 with an implementation date set for June 2010.
The previous importation regulations that were set in 2007 stated that female small ruminants for breeding, domestic or captive purposes could be imported from a U.S. premises enrolled in a Scrapie certification program that was determined to be a “negligible risk premises.” Or, females could be imported from a U.S. premises enrolled in a Scrapie certification program at an equivalent or higher status than the importing premises in Canada.
The new policy continues to fall in line with the above mentioned requirements; however, now both the exporting premises in the U.S. and the importing premises in Canada must be enrolled in a Scrapie certification program for at least 12 months and have completed at least one annual inventory.
This means, for instance, if a Canadian producer enrols on the Scrapie Flock Certification Program on July 1, 2010, he/she will not be permitted to import until July 1, 2011 (after the first annual inventory is completed).
No new changes have been implemented or proposed around the importation of rams and bucks from the U.S.The industry continues to communicate with the CFIA on this topic. If any new changes are proposed, the industry will be given an opportunity to comment as they were in regards to the latest set of changes. Any new information will be forwarded to producers and stakeholders as it comes to light.
Often times when changes happen, information can get tossed around from one source to the next, at which time the information can be misconstrued or misinterpreted. Scrapie Canada encourages producers who have any questions or concerns about importation regulations to contact the office and ask directly.