Steps for Shipping Equine Semen to Canada During the Current CEM Restrictions
By Jos Mottershead and Kathy St. Martin
It should be noted that while this article is correct at the time of going to press (April 2010), the regulations may change at any given time. You are therefore advised to confirm currency of all information and forms contained herein with CFIA and/or USDA prior to collection and shipment of semen. This is a guide only and should not be taken as definitive. Current regulations can be obtained through the Canadian Automated Import Reference System
Importation of semen from the USA to Canada is not insurmountable with the new regulations - indeed, they are essentially the same as the "old" regulations that were in place before the border opened to semen movement about 10 years ago - but they may prove impossible for some who want to ship cooled semen because of time-lines. The steps are as follows:
The mare owner applies to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for an import permit. We have the current application available for downloading on our web site here (note that it is quite a large file at 552 Kb, so you will want a reasonably fast connection), and addenda with explanations and costs for semen and embryo importation at those locations. It would be best to confirm with CFIA that these forms are still current if someone is reading this in the more distant future!
Upon receipt of the import permit, it must be sent to the stallion owner/manager to accompany the semen at time of shipment. If it is a multiple-entry permit (which we recommend with fresh semen in case of the need for a rebreed, even though it is more expensive), then a copy can accompany the semen shipment, but the original must be available for review by CFIA/CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency - formerly "Canada Customs") if requested. Note that if a single-entry permit is obtained the original must accompany the shipment, which means that the original must be sent to the stallion farm prior to semen being collected and shipped. [As of June 2015, a copy of the import permit is adequate for shipment accompaniment. The same process therefore applies as with the multiple-entry permit as follows.] With a multiple-entry permit, it can be faxed or scanned and e-mailed to the stallion farm, a faster and more convenient process;
The semen is collected in the presence of a veterinarian certified by USDA-Aphis for the purpose (this is typically your normal vet), and they must issue a "Zoosanitary Export Certificate for Semen" that certifies as outlined at the foot of this list;
That "Zoosanitary Export Certificate for Semen" is taken to a USDA-Aphis office for endorsement by the Federal Vet. USDA charge $74 for this endorsement (increased to $81 beginning October 1st, 2012);
A Customs Invoice must be completed and accompany the shipment - they are currently available on-line here;
Semen presented for importation into Canada must be in individual receptacles or straws, each marked with the collection date, identity of the donor and the semen collection premises;
The semen is shipped.
By April of 2009, with the requirement that all semen - including cooled - imported from the USA to Canada be accompanied by both an import permit and a Zoosanitary Certificate endorsed by USDA, it was recognized that this presented a problem for many breeders in that time constraints prevented the obtaining of the USDA endorsement before the courier shipment deadline. Hence, many US stallions owners ceased to ship cooled semen to Canada. CFIA made an optional adjustment in that if desired the semen can be shipped with a copy of the Zoosanitary Certificate unendorsed by USDA, provided that the certificate is endorsed by USDA prior to the semen arriving at the border and being presented for clearance. Upon receipt, USDA will endorse the certificate, and transmit a copy of it to the CFIA Import Service Center ("ISC"), returning the original to the issuing veterinarian or farm. When the semen arrives at the import point, CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) personnel refer the importation clearance to the ISC, who then review their faxed permit file and issue an order for the release of the semen as long as they have had a copy of the applicable Zoosanitary Certificate faxed to them by USDA. There is a Cdn$35 charge for CFIA clearing semen in this manner. It is unknown what USDA charges for this service. Contact information for the Canada's National Import Service Center is presented on the CFIA web site at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/imp/importe.shtml
As one can see, it's not difficult, but there are some specific steps that must be completed. If they are not, then the semen will be rejected at the time of inspection by CBSA. The requirement for endorsement by USDA-Aphis in particular is the item that may produce impossible time constraints for some. Obviously frozen semen will permit longer time-delays.
Note that there are NO differences as to the region where the horse is located. Some Internet bulletin board posts that we have seen reference the stallion being in a "CEM free zone", a "State not currently affected" or from a "USDA Certified CEM-Free farm" and that it might make a difference, but it makes no difference to the import requirements. It is semen from ALL farms and ALL of the USA that must be certified in the manner described!
"Zoosanitary Export Certificate for Semen" Declaration wording:
The horse semen is certified as free of Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM) as follows:
The donor stallion(s) have not been on a premises where T.equigenitalis has been isolated during the 60 days immediately preceding collection of the semen for export to Canada or a premises currently under quarantine or investigation for CEM.
The semen was processed using an extender that contains antibiotics effective against T.equigenitalis.
The semen is in individual receptacles or straws, each marked with the collection date, identity of the donor and the semen collection premises.
The semen was legally imported into the U.S. for unrestricted use.
Country where semen was collected: [insert country of origin]
Originally published by Equine-Reproduction.com 02/18/2009, with updates added 04/27/2009 Reviewed for content currency 04/22/2010
Current regulations can be obtained through the Canadian Automated Import Reference System Use "semen" in the commodity search, then "equine (horse)" in the subsequent search field, then answer the questions appropriately.