CFIA has announced the introduction of import restrictions on horses and equine semen originating from the USA as a result of the current US outbreak of Contagious Equine Metritis. Horses and other equidae (asses, mules and zebras) will not require an import permit, but will require additional declarations on the health papers certifying that they have not been on a premises where Taylorella equigenitalis has been isolated during the 60 days immediately preceding exportation to Canada or a premises currently under quarantine or investigation for CEM; and that any female(s) in the shipment have not been bred naturally to, or inseminated with, semen from a stallion positive for CEM, or a stallion resident upon a positive premises or under quarantine or investigation for CEM. Additionally, the animals must not show any signs of CEM on the day of inspection.

Semen has different restrictions based upon the date of collection. Semen collected prior to December 15th 2008 does not require an import permit, but will require a U.S. Health Certificate that declares the date of collection, the identity of the donor stallion and the identity of the collection premises. Semen collected after December 15th 2008 will require an import permit (obtained from CFIA), and a U.S. Health Certificate with the declaration that the donor stallion(s) have not been on a premises where Taylorella equigenitalis has been isolated during the 60 days immediately preceding collection of the semen for export to Canada or a premises currently under quarantine or investigation for CEM; and that the semen was processed using an extender that contains antibiotics effective against Taylorella equigenitalis. Semen presented for importation into Canada must be in individual receptacles or straws, each marked with the collection date, identity of the donor and the semen collection premises.

Embryos will require an import permit (obtained from CFIA), and a U.S. Health Certificate with the declaration that the donor mare(s) have not been on a premises where Taylorella equigenitalis has been isolated during the 60 days immediately preceding the collection of the embryo(s) for export to Canada or a premises currently under quarantine or investigation for CEM and have not been bred naturally or inseminated with semen from a stallion positive for CEM, or a stallion resident upon a positive premises or under quarantine or investigation for CEM; and that the flushing medium that was used to collect the embryo(s) contains antibiotics effective against Taylorella equigenitalis. Embryos presented for importation into Canada must be in sterile straws or pipettes, each marked with the collection date, identity of the donor and the embryo collection premises.

Import Permit applications can be obtained from the CFIA web site. A single import permit costs Cdn $35, multiple use Cdn $60. Border inspection for semen will cost Cdn $35; horses (single) Cdn $25. Inland inspection of semen will cost Cdn $32 for 1-49 units, Cdn $51 for 50-499 units, incrementally increasing for more units. Canadian horses that enter the US and will be returning will now be given an extra page by the endorsing CFIA Vet. to go with the Canadian Export Health certificate, that must be presented to an accredited vet in the USA for completion, and must be be endorsed by a USDA vet before returning to Canada. Canada Border Services Agency will be looking for this document before allowing re-entry. Additionally, semen and embryos will be subject to inspection upon importation, and consequently there will be restrictions in some cases as to point of entry to Canada. The restrictions placed on entry of horses is implemented immediately, while the restrictions on semen and embryos will be implemented approximately January 26th 2009.

As it is not unlikely that there will be some initial confusion with these new requirements, we recommend that Canadian importers and/or US exporters in the near future contact CFIA and/or USDA-Aphis for confirmation of requirements prior to attempting border crossing.

 

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