July 14, 2006
July 14, 2006 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reported this week
that it has revised its import policy, based on an updated scientific risk
analysis, to eliminate current bluetongue-related control measures for cattle,
sheep and other ruminants imported from the United States.
can affect wild and domestic ruminant animals but does not pose any human health
risk. CFIA animal health experts have determined that the potential for
bluetongue to spread in Canada, both in livestock and wildlife, is very limited.
Climatic conditions limit potential transmission to only a short period each
year, within a restricted geographic region.
As a precautionary measure,
CFIA will start monitoring for bluetongue every year instead of every three
"The proposal, if finalized, would significantly reduce the
burden on U.S. livestock producers shipping ruminants to Canada by allowing for
year round importation on all classes of ruminants and eliminating bluetongue
testing requirements," stated U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) deputy
under secretary, Chuck Lambert.
Canada first made testing mandatory for
U.S. cattle imports about 20 years ago but CFIA lifted this requirement for
cattle bound for Canadian feedlots in 2004. Sheep were not included in the 2004
"The sheep industry appreciates all the efforts carried out by
the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on behalf of U.S.
producers to accomplish this goal. It is encouraging to hear of the
science-based decision to change the bluetongue protocol for exporting into
Canada," stated Paul Frischknecht, president for the American Sheep Industry
For more than a year, ASI has been working with the
Canadian Sheep Federation (CSF) to change the bluetongue policy. As recent as
its June newsletter, CSF stated its reluctance but decided to support this
"ASI is pleased that CFIA is moving its
regulatory policy toward this common-sense approach which eliminates an unfair
Canadian trade barrier toward the United States," concluded Frischknecht.