In November 2021, Option 2c, for the import of male small ruminants from any premises in the U.S., was suspended with very little notice to industry, and has since been under review. This severely limited the ability of Canadian goat breeders to access US genetics.
Since then, the Canadian National Goat Federation and other small ruminant industry stakeholders have taken part in multiple teleconferences with CFIA to provide further information regarding the suspension of Option 2c and to discuss alternatives and solutions for breeders importing genetics from the US. The Small Ruminant Group (Canadian Sheep Breeders Association, Canadian Goat Society, Canadian Meat Goat Association, Canadian National Goat Federation, Canadian Sheep Federation) sent a formal letter to CFIA’s Senior Veterinary Officer and National Veterinary Program Specialist, which included details and rationale for the Small Ruminant Industry’s Recommended Option 2c alternatives, and participated in sharing a survey from CFIA to producers and stakeholders.
On June 14, 2022 CNGF was invited to attend a meeting for a follow-up discussion between CFIA and national small ruminant stakeholder groups about the review of Option 2c of the import policy for small ruminants from the US. At this meeting, CFIA expressed that they were very pleased by the number of individuals and organizations who responded to the survey, with good representation from across the country. Based on feedback from this survey and their own internal review, CFIA has developed both a short term and a long term plan. CFIA stated that one of the recurring messages they heard in the survey was the lack of genetic diversity we have and how the inability to import new genetics limits the growth of industry. They cited the following two items as possibilities for individuals to access new genetics (outside of importation of live animals):
- Changes to domestic artificial insemination program to increase genetic diversity by facilitating collection and distribution of semen within Canada, which will be in effect in the summer of 2022
- Importation of semen from the EU and UK is currently allowed; risk assessment underway for in-vivo sheep embryos from UK.
CFIA’s short term plan is a new modified Option 2c for importation of live male goats – any individual enrolled in the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program (VSFCP) or who had submitted an application to enroll by December 31, 2021, will be eligible to use this new modified option for the next 6-9 months. These individuals will have until December 31, 2022 to apply for an import permit – these permits are valid for three months, therefore the animal would have to be imported by March 31, 2023. After December 31, 2022 this option will once again be removed from the Import Policy.
NOTE: Eligible producers are NOT able to apply for an Import Permit until the policy has been updated and published on CFIA’s website.
Modified Option 2c available until December 31, 2022:
Male small ruminants may be imported from any premises in the United States provided that the following criteria are met:
- The import permit application must be submitted to CFIA before December 31st, 2022. The validity period of the import permit it no more than 3 months. Therefore, male small ruminants would have to be imported into Canada no later than March 31st, 2023.
- The importing premises in Canada must have been enrolled in the Scrapie Flock Certification Program (SFCP) for a minimum of 1 year and completed at least 1 annual inventory no later than December 31st, 2022
- For premises that do not contain any small ruminants, the premises must have been enrolled in the SFCP no later than December 31st, 2021.
The proof of enrollment in the SFCP as described above must be submitted at the time of the import permit application.
- The premises must continue to be enrolled in the SFCP as long as the imported males small ruminants are alive.
- The imported males must:
- not be scrapie positive, scrapie suspect or scrapie exposed animals;
- not be displaying any clinical signs of scrapie at the time of certification for export to Canada
- In Canada, the imported males must:
- be maintained separate from the female animals except during breeding season
- be maintained separate from lambs or kids at all times; and
- not be maintained in confined lambing/kidding facilities
This requirement for separation must be confirmed by the local CFIA district office prior to the issuance of the import permit.
- The imported males can never leave the importing premises, unless for either hand-breeding or semen collection, as per the National Standards for the SFCP, and with a written CFIA authorization.
- 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. The testing must be performed by a CFIA-approved TSE network laboratory or by the CFIA laboratory directly.
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.
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 license, 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.
CFIA’s long term plan includes updating Option 2B genotyping in the future to include resistant genotypes in goats, pending adequate national surveillance in mature goats and a Scrapie Pilot Program that would offer an alternative to total herd depopulation if a herd is positive. In order to have adequate numbers of animals for testing surveillance, CFIA is requesting industry’s assistance to encourage goat producers to contact their local CFIA office if they have any mature animals or animals die with any symptoms of Scrapie.
CFIA has been in contact with federal funding counterparts and would be happy to forward on information to any organization that might like to consider applying for funds for genotyping projects in goats to expediate the genotype piece.