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Import restrictions for equine germplasm from the United States - CEM

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In 2009, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) implemented requirements for certifying equine germplasm (semen and embryos) from the United States (U.S). It did this in response to an outbreak of contagious equine metritis (CEM) in the U.S.

Semen (fresh and frozen)

Import permit: Required
United States Veterinary Export Certificate: Required

The following certification is required on the United States export certificate:

NOTE: For semen, the U.S. zoosanitary export certificates need to be endorsed by a USDA veterinarian, to

The same conditions (that is, endorsement from the veterinary authority of the exporting country) apply to horses and germplasm (semen and embryos) from other countries, as well as for live horses from the U.S.

After consultation with Equine Canada, the CFIA implemented 2 options for the importation of fresh semen:

  1. either the endorsed U.S. export certificates can travel with the semen OR
  2. the semen can be sent immediately, without the endorsed certificate.

In the second case, the U.S. export certificate can be taken separately to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) office for endorsement and then faxed by the USDA to the Import Service Centre in Canada (to be matched with the semen and the unendorsed certificate when it arrives). This is meant to address situations where an exporter may not live close to a USDA office. It will allow semen to be shipped immediately, to help reduce damage to the product that can occur if delays are encountered.

Courier companies (or any other transporters) that ship fresh semen to the border without an USDA-endorsed export certificate must be informed that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will refer them to the CFIA for inspection and document verification.

It is critical to recognize the importance of the endorsement procedure performed by the USDA. The USDA is the Central Veterinary Authority in the U.S. Based on the definition of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Veterinary Authority of the exporting country is ultimately accountable for veterinary certification used in international trade. It is this accountability that is absolutely required to verify that the imported commodity meets the CFIA’s import requirements. Canada develops import policies that are necessary to achieve the national appropriate level of protection for a given disease.

Embryos

Import permit: Required
United States Veterinary Export Certificate: Required

The following certification is required on the United States export certificate:

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