CALGARY, Alta. – When the U.S. border finally re-opens to live Canadian cattle, it won’t exactly be business as usual for exporters and carriers. In the weeks leading up to the original re-opening date of March 7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) implemented a new rule: The Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE); Minimal Risk Regions and Importation of Commodities. The rule permits the importation of cattle less than 30 months of age as long as they were destined for immediate slaughter and feeding prior to slaughter in the U.S. However, the rule also came with a few more conditions. When the border re-opens, shipments must be accompanied by an export certificate that verifies the animals meet the following conditions:
Animal health requirements
Cattle must be less than 30 months of age
Animals must have been kept in the U.S. or Canada during the last 60 days before being shipped to the U.S.
Veterinary inspections must verify all animals are free from communicable diseases and the animals must not have been exposed to such diseases in the 60 days prior to the inspection.
All cattle must be identified with Canadian ear tags, which can only be removed by U.S. officials at the final destination.
Cattle for feeding must be permanently and humanely identified before entering the U.S. with a Canadian marking. This must be visible on the hip of live animals and on the carcass and must be at least two inches high and readable at the time of export.
Once the livestock has been loaded, the trailer must be sealed by the accredited veterinarian using official federal seals, the new rules say. The numbers from the seals must be recorded on the Canadian health certificate. If the seals are missing or broken, the shipment will be refused entry into the U.S., the USDA warns.
U.S. border officials may remove the seals to inspect the animals but in this case, U.S. seals will be applied afterwards. All shipments must be accompanied by the Canadian export certificate and accompanied by a VS Form 17-29 Declaration of Importation. That form is generally provided by a customs broker but can also be downloaded from www.aphis.usda.gov/library./forms. Sealed vehicles must move directly from the exporting premises to the port of entry and then directly to the designated slaughterhouse or feedlot, the rules say. Some Canadian producers expect the new restrictions to increase the cost of shipping by up to 15 per cent.