Requirements for Small Ruminants Imported From the United States for Breeding, Domestic or Captive Purposes

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

Looking for related documents?
Search for related documents in the Guidance Document Repository


Amendments: This directive has been revised extensively and completely replaces any previous versions.

Small ruminants: members of the Family Bovidae; Subfamily Caprinae; Genus Ovis and Capra. In general, the term "small ruminants" applies to sheep and goats and their exotic relatives (of the genus Ovis and Capra).

A. General Import Notes

  1. An import permit is required for any category of small ruminant and must be issued prior to the arrival of animals at a port of entry. Please contact the CFIA Centre of Administration at or 1-855-212-7695 to inquire about import permits.

    Where applicable, provide your national identification and traceability database account number as part of the application for the import permit.

  2. Individual identification traceable to flock or herd of origin is required for all small ruminants to be imported.

B. Requirements For Scrapie:


1. Female small ruminants for breeding, domestic or captive purposes can be imported onto any premises in Canada only if they originate from a premises enrolled in the United States Department of Agriculture Scrapie Flock Certification Program (USDA SFCP) that is determined to be a "negligible risk premises".

Female small ruminants must be certified as originating from the following:

A Negligible Risk Premises

A negligible risk premises is defined as a premises that has maintained the flock or herd of origin and has complied with the following conditions for at least five (5) years:

  1. All small ruminants have been permanently identified, and records were maintained to enable traceback to their premises of birth.
  2. Movements of small ruminants in and out of the premises are documented, and the records are maintained.
  3. Introductions and movement of live animals, embryos and semen are allowed only in accordance with the requirements of the Export Category of the USDA SFCP.
  4. A veterinarian who is authorized by the Veterinary Administration inspect the small ruminants on the premises and audits the records at least once per year.
  5. The premises is not currently subject to any scrapie control or eradication action and does not contain high-risk animals, as defined by the USDA Veterinary Services National Scrapie Eradication Program (NSEP).
  6. Female small ruminants on the premises have no direct contact with female small ruminants from premises of a lower status.
  7. All small ruminants over 18 months of age on the premises that have died or been killed for reasons, other than routine slaughter, have had samples collected and sent to a USDA-approved laboratory for scrapie testing and for all other known transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) strains. Sampling must include all fallen stock (as required by the Export Category of the USDA SFCP) and animals sent for emergency slaughter. As other exceptions for testing do exist, the expectation is that testing on deadstock should be completed as required by the USDA SFCP. In addition, the flock or herd of origin must be certified as meeting all other sampling requirements as required by the USDA SFCP.

Options for Males:

2 a) Male small ruminants may be imported to any premises in Canada provided that they have acquired five (5) years of status in accordance with the Export Category of the USDA SFCP (which is equivalent to a female small ruminant originating from a negligible risk premises).


2 b) Male sheep (rams) may be imported to any premises in Canada from any flock in the USA if they have undergone genotype testing and have been determined to be of the codon 136AA 171RR or 136AA 171QR genotype. This testing must be completed in a laboratory that is approved by the USDA to perform genotype testing, and the results must be indicated on the accompanying export health certificate.


2 c) Male small ruminants may be imported from any premises in the United States provided that:

  1. The importing premises in Canada must have been enrolled in the VSFCP for a minimum of one (1) year and completed at least one (1) annual inventory, or the premises must currently not contain any small ruminants (premises would then require to be newly enrolled in the VSFCP);
  2. The imported males must:
    1. Not be scrapie positive, scrapie suspect or scrapie exposedFootnote 1 animals;Footnote 2
    2. Not be displaying any clinical signs of scrapie at the time of certification for export to Canada;Footnote 2
  3. The premises must continue to be enrolled in the VSFCP and the imported males must never leave the importing premises without written permission from the CFIA;
  4. In Canada, the imported males must:
    1. Be maintained separate from the female animals except during breeding season;
    2. Be maintained separate from lambs or kids at all times; and
    3. Not be maintained in confined lambing/kidding facilities.
  5. At the time of their death, the CFIA must be notified and the imported males must be sampled and proof of testing for scrapie must be provided.

For Option 2 b), documentation confirming the genotype of the male(s) to be exported must be submitted when applying for an Import Permit. For Option 2 c), information pertaining to the importing premises must be submitted at the time of the Import Permit application.

C. Test Requirements

Note: The animals being presented for importation must not come into contact with any animals, products, or equipment of lesser or unknown health status during the period between required testing and export to Canada. In addition, no new animals shall be added to the group intended for export, unless these animals have sanitary guarantees similar to those of the rest of the group.

Sheep (Ovis)

No test requirements.

Goats (Capra)

1. Brucellosis (B. abortus)

The animals must test negative for brucellosis, using the fluorescence polarization assay (FPA) or other test approvedFootnote 3 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for this purpose, conducted within 30 days of importation. The tests must be performed in a laboratory that is approved to perform the test by the official veterinary service of the country of export. The results of the brucellosis test (including the type of test performed) must be shown on the required health certificate for the animal to be imported.

Any animal with a non-negative result is ineligible for export to Canada. It must be re-tested using iELISA, with the test performed in a laboratory that is approved to perform the test by the official veterinary service of the country of export. If the result is negative, the remainder of the shipment will be eligible for export to Canada. If the result is positive, the animal must be removed from the group, and the remainder of the shipment re-tested for brucellosis, using FPA at least 42 days from the time the reactor animal was removed, with negative results. If further positive results are obtained, the entire group is ineligible for export to Canada.

An epidemiological investigation must be done, in addition to the ancillary testing, to ensure disease exposure has not occurred.

2. Tuberculosis

The tuberculosis test is the caudal fold tuberculin test with a reading of results at 72 hours as "No Reaction," conducted within 60 days of importation. The results of the tuberculin test (including the date of test reading) must be shown on the required health certificate for the animal to be imported.

The caudal fold tuberculin test is to be conducted with a dose rate of 0.1 mL of Canadian bovine PPD tuberculin – or product of equivalent potency approved by the CFIA – injected intradermally at the caudal fold site, and the injection site identified with a permanent ink marker, and the thickness of the skin recorded with caliper. The skin thickness should be observed and measured seventy-two (72) hours post injection.

A reactor is any animal in which there is any visible or palpable disturbance at the site of injection.

Any reaction to the caudal fold test renders the reacting animal ineligible for export to Canada. To determine the eligibility of the remainder of the shipment, carry out an epidemiological investigation and ancillary testing that is acceptable to the CFIA (i.e. the comparative cervical tuberculin [CCT] test, performed at least 60 days following the most recent tuberculin injection) on reactor animals.

Any animal that is a reactor to ancillary testing to the intradermal test is to be removed from the group of animals intended for export, and the entire testing protocol must begin again for the remainder of the group. A minimum interval of 60 days is always required between any tuberculin test performed in the subfamily Caprinae

3. Bluetongue – Sheep and Goats (State of Florida only)

Animals imported from the aforementioned state require a negative test for bluetongue, using the cELISA test methodology within 30 days prior to import.


In the case of a positive cELISA result, a PCR test must be performed, with negative results for virus within 30 days of importation in order for the animal to be eligible for entry into Canada.

If a cELISA test positive animal is also positive on the PCR test, it is ineligible for export to Canada and must be removed from the group. The remainder of the shipment must be re-tested with negative results, using cELISA at least 28 days after the removal of the reactor animal.

It is suggested that animals being sampled have a serum sample and a blood sample drawn at the same time and that these be sent to the lab with the request that, if the cELISA test is positive, a PCR test should follow.

D. General Certification Requirements – Zoosanitary Certificate for U.S. Origin Small Ruminants

  1. Small ruminants may be imported into Canada from the U.S., if the animal is accompanied by a certificate of an official veterinarian of the U.S. or a certificate of a veterinarian authorized by the USDA, and endorsed by an official veterinarian of the U.S., clearly identifying the animal and showing the following:
    1. the small ruminant and its flock or herd of origin were inspected by a veterinarian within 30 days preceding the date of importation and were found to be free from communicable disease; and
    2. the animal was, to the best of the knowledge and belief of a veterinarian, not exposed to any communicable disease within 60 days preceding the date of the inspection.
  2. The feeding to small ruminants of meat and bone meal or greaves of ruminant origin has been banned since 1997, and this prohibition is strictly enforced.
  3. The small ruminant is identified by a permanent identification system, enabling traceback to its flock or herd of origin.
  4. The small ruminant has in its right ear – or, if there is insufficient ear, in its inner right flank or tail web – a legible permanent tattoo that shows the letters "USA," at least one centimetre in height.

The CFIA Import Permit number must be specified on the Health Certificate.

E. Permanent Identification System

This is defined as one of the following:

1. an official USDA ear tag


2. a tamper-resistant ear tag approved by USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for use in the USDA SFCP


3. a unique alphanumeric ear tattoo (which, in the case of goats with insufficient ear space, may appear in the flank or tail web)


4. electronic identification, provided a reader that is satisfactory in determining the elements accompanies the animal into Canada


For imported small ruminants that are required by section 189 of the Health of Animals Regulations to have an approved tag applied under the national livestock identification program, the importer must report the mandatory information to the administrator of the program, as required and within the time period specified. In those cases in which the animal does not already bear the approved tag at the time of import, the information will also have to be reported to the CFIA office where the importation occurred. Imported animals that are identified with US identifiers that have been deemed equivalent by the Minister to Canadian identification tags do not have to be re-tagged upon arrival in Canada. However, tag information must still be reported to the CFIA and the respective animal identification agency as required by the Health of Animals Regulations.

F. Additional Requirements For Option 2C

Males imported under Part B, option 2 c) must never leave the importing premises without written permission from the CFIA. At the time of their death, the CFIA must be notified and the imported males must be sampled and proof of a negative test for scrapie must be provided. The testing can be performed by a CFIA-approved TSE network laboratory or by the CFIA laboratory directly.

After a minimum of two (2) years following importation the owner of an imported male may request to transfer the animal to another Canadian premise that meets the requirements for importing males under option 2 c). The male animal may not be moved unless written consent and conditions are received from the CFIA.

Under exceptional circumstances, the CFIA may provide conditions for an imported male to move off an approved VSFCP premises.

Flocks and/or herds that have imported males that do not follow through with their obligations will be identified to the CFIA, and additional measures and/or enforcement actions, as determined by the CFIA based on the specifics of the animals in question (and which may include an order for destruction), will be applied.

G. Border Procedures

Documentation for importation must be presented to a CFIA veterinary inspector at the first point of entry. The shipment of animals must be presented to a CFIA veterinary inspector designated under the Health of Animals Act at the first point of entry. There must be prior arrangements made to ensure the provision of inspection at the appropriate time.

For option 2 c) only - subsequent to presentation for inspection at the first port of entry, the animals described on this permit must proceed directly, and under licence, from the port of entry to the premises, previously approved by an inspector designated under the Health of Animals Act and indicated on this permit. The requirement for premise approval is enrollment in the VSFCP as outlined in Part B. Options for Males: 2 c) 1).

H. Exemptions

An exemption from these requirements for small ruminants will be considered on a case-by-case basis, considering that the intended use for animals imported is medical, for scientific research, or for zoological collections.

Date modified: