A Quick Reminder-Bison Import Regulations

Optional Import Protocol for Bison from the USA

Reprinted from the Smoke Signals, August 1999, pages 85-86


To import bison from the US certain procedures must be followed. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has set up a protocol that minimizes the risk of importing diseased bison. This article summarizes the requirements for importing bison from The United States into Canada.

Main features include:

  • the use of Canadian Bison Association Tags post-entry quarantine at a pre-approved premise enhanced US Inspection and sealing of the trailer no offloading at the Canadian port of entry

The requirements stated here are in addition to the Canadian import conditions for disease freedom and testing (brucellosis, tuberculosis, anaplasmosis and bluetongue) which must be certified on a United States Department of Agriculture health certificate (VS 17-140).

Canadian Bison Official Identification Plastic Ear Tags

The Canadian importer will be required to supply Canadian Bison Association plastic ear tags to the exporter prior to testing in the USA. There are two types of ear tags approved. Herd ear tags or alternatively, a special issue of preprinted plastic ear tags for import that are both available through the Canadian Livestock Records Corporation (CLRC). Information on how to obtain tags is available through the Canadian Bison Association. These tags are in addition to the United States Department of Agriculture metal ear tags.

Pre-approval of Quarantine Facilities

The Canadian importer must have a premise pre-approved by their district CFIA veterinarian for the post-entry quarantine. For Canadian producers that are starting a new operation, the district veterinarian will perform an inspection of the facilities. For existing operations, the district veterinarian may approve this facility without an inspection and cost recovery fees if, through recent knowledge (within the past 24 months) and experience, the facility is considered suit- able. The CFIA veterinarian will produce an approval document.

Quarantine premises must provide the following features:

  1. Be of suitable size and construction to contain the number of animals in the shipment. The perimeter fencing or panelling must be of sufficient height to prevent contact to other domestic livestock.
  2. Provide a minimum separation of twenty (20) meters from other domestic ungulates (therefore, no nose-to-nose contact and no drainage from the quarantine into other livestock holding areas).
  3. Provide separate feeding and watering facilities for the imported animals.
  4. Contain handling facilities that meet industry standards in order that the imported bison can be handled, tested, and examined in a safe and effective manner. If there are common handling facilities with other livestock, a thorough cleaning and disinfecting must occur after use by the quarantined bison.
  5. Contain unloading facilities that are considered safe for handlers and bison, and capable of preventing escape.

Supplemental Health Certificate Provided by Private US Veterinarian at the Time of Loading

A supplemental health certificate must be completed and endorsed by the accredited veterinarian who provides assurance of the identity and health of the animals at the time of loading. The accredited veterinarian will be required to supervise loading of the shipment and to apply a USDA seal to the trailer. If the seal is broken for such reasons as for: offloading to rest animals, then an additional supplemental , health certificate ensuring no contact with other US livestock and resealing would be necessary. USDA endorsement will not be required for the supplemental health certificate. The supplemental health certificate is available from CFIA and it will be the importer's responsibility to provide this document to the exporter in the USA.

Import Inspection

Imported bison under this protocol will be allowed access through any port where veterinary inspection service is traditionally provided by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. An appointment must be made in advance with the port of entry veterinarian. Inspection will include review of the import documents, inspection of the bison on the trailer, verification of visual identification and confirmation of the USDA seal number. Any significant problems encountered at this point with identification or humane and health condition of the bison may result in refusal or referral to a port of entry that has bison handling facilities for off-loading and detailed inspection.

The seals will be broken by the CFIA inspector at the port of entry and the load placed under quarantine.

Post-entry Quarantine

The bison must be in quarantine for at least 60 days and then tested for brucellosis, tuberculosis, anaplasmosis and bluetongue. CFIA staff will visit the quarantine during this period to assure the animals are held in isolation and to do the testing.

    - Quarantine approval
    - New Premise: $300.00

  2. Port of entry inspection
    - For the first animal on the shipment: $36.00
    - For each additional animal on the shipment: $7.25

  3. Post-entry inspections and testing
    - For the first animal in the quarantine: $35.00
    - For each additional animal in quarantine: $15.00

NOTE: The Canadian Bison Association has the US. Import Tags preprinted and waiting for your order. Please make sure you order your required tags well in advance of the time you need them. Also it is very important that these tags are applied at the time of the first testing by the veterinarian in the U.S.

U.S. Import tag order forms are available through the CBA office. Phone 306-522-4766

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