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Chapter 6 – Export to Mexico
6.4 Cattle (updated December 2017)

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This section describes inspection and certification requirements for the export of cattle to Mexico.

6.4A Export to Mexico – Certification Requirements of Cattle: multiple farms of origin or multiple trucks


Veterinarians accredited for this function are authorized to certify cattle for export to Mexico. Currently, there is a certificate for breeding cattle (HA1296).

Veterinarians accredited for this function are required to maintain records to document how certification elements have been met for each shipment.

General certification requirements

1. General information about exportation to Mexico mentioned in module 6.1 must have been reviewed. The general principles that apply to inspecting and testing cattle for export to the U.S. also apply to inspecting and testing cattle for export to Mexico.

2. The accredited veterinarian must use the most recent version of the export certificate. The terms and conditions of export are subject to change from time to time and without notice. The status of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) export certificate (HA1296) must be verified with the local district office of the CFIA prior to the commencement of testing, to ensure it is current and matches the list of conditions contained in the "hoja de requisitos" (document similar to an import permit).

3. The animals must be individually identified with tags approved under the Livestock Identification and Traceability (TRACE) Program. Approved tags for cattle bear a unique identification number. The identification numbers of approved tags start with "124 000 0", "124 000 1" or "124 000 2". Tags considered equivalent under the TRACE Program that start with "840" are also acceptable as official identification.


  1. Even though it is not a requirement of the importing country that the ear tag numbers be listed in ascending numerical order on the certificate, accredited veterinarians are encouraged to complete certificates in this manner. This practice will facilitate inspection at the ports of entry and minimize delays.
  2. The animals must not bear a light blue, Allflex, tamperproof, dangle tag in their left ear, marked with CFIA/ACIA and a 4-digit number, as these animals cannot be certified for export to any country.

light blue ear tag

4. In the column "Age", record the age in months. The only official requirement is that the exported animals must have been born on or after January 1, 1999; however, it is important for the exporter and the accredited veterinarian to know that Mexican importers may receive subsidies from the Government of Mexico if they can prove that the imported animals are less than 30 months of age.

Non-specific age entries are not acceptable, e.g. <30 months, but an approximation based on dentition is acceptable (see section 23 below).

5. The breed and sex must be recorded in full on the certificate. Abbreviations are not allowed. In the case of registered cattle, the registration number must be entered in the last column (description).

6. The Mexican authorities do not accept hand written certificates. The certificate must be typed, including the "Reference number". The reference number should be requested in advance from the district office, to avoid hand writing it on the certificate. A fillable PDF certificate is available from the district office.

7. The accredited veterinarian must complete the export health certificate by entering all the necessary information with the exception of the number of animals in the shipment and the seal numbers. The completed and signed health certificate shall be submitted to a CFIA veterinary inspector to review and, if all requirements have been met, the certificate will be endorsed. An incomplete export certificate will be returned to the accredited veterinarian for completion. A fee will be charged for CFIA endorsement. The endorsed certificate will be returned to the accredited veterinarian.

8. The original and three copies of the official export certificate must accompany the shipment.

9. The animals are loaded at the farm of origin under the supervision of the accredited veterinarian or his designated technician, and the trucks are sealed.

10. An addendum (see "Addendum for Rest Stops" in section 13) will be added to the certificate for transit in the U.S. by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarians or USDA accredited veterinarians in order to record when the seals are broken and re-applied.

11. If the seals are broken or missing, or if they do not match the seal numbers recorded on the health certificate or the USDA's addendum, the shipment will be refused entry into the U.S. or Mexico.

12. From the farm of origin to the U.S. border, the seals cannot be broken by anyone other than a CFIA inspector or a person under the CFIA inspector's supervision. If the exporter needs to transfer animals from one truck to another after leaving the farm of origin, the transfer must be supervised by either a CFIA inspector, or an accredited veterinarian or technician designated to apply seals. The accredited veterinarian or technician must first obtain authorization from a CFIA inspector to remove seals for that specific situation. More information can be found in the section Use and Control of CFIA Seals. After changing the seals, the responsible person will issue an official letter to confirm the change in the seal numbers. If a CFIA inspector was required to provide this service, a fee will be charged.

During transit in the U.S., the USDA should always be contacted before breaking any seal on the truck.

USDA protocol to transit ruminants from Canada to Mexico

13. A Canadian health certificate to export cattle to Mexico (HA1296) and a USDA transit import permit will be required to transit in the USA. Exporters transporting loads of cattle through the USA to Mexico are required to observe the USDA Protocol to Transit Canadian bovines to Mexico. The following documents are available on the USDA Website:

In case of refused entry in Mexico

14. The exporter needs – and should be advised by the accredited veterinarian – to have contingency plans in place for the handling of the shipment should it be refused entry in Mexico. For shipments which are refused entry, there are three possible outcomes:

  1. they return to Canada (please check with the CFIA for requirements to return these animals);
  2. they are sent to a U.S. slaughterhouse under a special permit from the USDA; or,
  3. the animals can be sold within the U.S. if they have been inspected and certified to meet U.S. requirements. In this case, the accredited veterinarian must also be accredited for the export of cattle to the U.S. and the endorsed certificate HA1941 must have accompanied the load into the U.S. Since the certificate for the U.S. will be used only if the shipment is refused entry in Mexico, it does not need to be shown on entry in the U.S. If needed, the inspection will be done by a USDA veterinarian at the Mexico-U.S. border's point of inspection, and the decision to let the animals enter the U.S. will be taken at this moment.

    If the CFIA district office is asked to certify a shipment for both countries, the usual certification fees will be charged for both certificates.

Use and control of CFIA seals

15. The export of cattle to Mexico must be done in vehicles that are sealed at the location from which the animals are being shipped. Seals must be applied by the accredited veterinarian who signs the certificate or by a technician designated by the accredited veterinarian.

16. To perform this function, accredited veterinarians or their technicians must be designated under the Health of Animals Act to affix official seals. Contact the CFIA district veterinarian to obtain a designation certificate. Please note that this designation does not allow the removal of CFIA official seals. For each situation where official seals must be removed, the designated accredited veterinarian or technician must contact their CFIA district office in advance to obtain an authorization to remove official seals.

17. Accredited veterinarians will provide the CFIA district veterinarian with the names of any technicians able to perform the duties of sealing vehicles for the shipment of animals to Mexico. This list must be updated as soon as changes in staff are made.

18. The CFIA's Animal Health district office will provide seals for the vehicles. Seals may be allocated to an accredited veterinarian or to a veterinary clinic when more than one accredited veterinarian is employed by the same clinic.

19. The district office will keep records containing the seal numbers and the names of the accredited veterinarians or veterinary clinics to which the seals were distributed.

20. Once seals are applied to all possible exits of a vehicle transporting livestock, accredited veterinarians or their designated technicians must record the numbers on the official export certificate in the appropriate section and initial the appropriate section.

21. Accredited veterinarians are responsible to keep records of the seals that were used. Seal numbers must be matched with export certificate numbers. These records must be kept for a minimum of three years.

22. Accredited veterinarians must submit, upon request, a list of the seals used and the corresponding export certificate numbers to the CFIA's Animal Health district office. The following list can be put in a table and used to submit this information. The document can be sent by facsimile, electronic mail or regular mail.

Age determination

23. The following will apply to age determination:

  1. Dentition: animals are eligible to be exported to Mexico after a visual inspection of dentition, provided the eighth permanent incisor has not erupted. The definition of eruption is the emergence/penetration of the tooth/teeth through the gingiva (gum line). If the eighth incisor has erupted, the age of the cattle will need to be verified by a birth record (see definition in article ii below). For additional information, please visit the following Website: USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) – Using Dentition to Age Cattle

    Click on image for larger view
    Dentition. Description follows.

    Description for picture – Dentition

    Diagram – Handy guide to determining the age of cattle by the teeth:

    At birth to 1 month: Two or more of the temporary incisor teeth present. Within first month, entire 8 temporary incisors appear.

    2 years: As a long-yearling, the central pair of temporary incisor teeth or pinchers is replaced by the permanent pinchers. At 2 years, the central permanent incisors attain full development.

    2 ½ years: Permanent first intermediates, one on each side of the pinchers, are cut. Usually these are fully developed at 3 years.

    3 ½ years: The second intermediates or laterals are cut. They are on a level with the first intermediates and begin to wear at 4 years.

    4 ½ years: The corner teeth are replaced. At 5 years the animal usually has the full complement of incisors with the corners fully developed.

  2. Birth record: Agri-traçabilité Québec (ATQ) database, purebred record and registration certificate, Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) database, or other record (including birth farm records) that provides evidence acceptable to the accredited veterinarian indicating the animal was born on or after January 1, 1999. If animals being certified fall into this category, the accredited veterinarian must validate the information and maintain records of the information source with each shipment that is certified for export. The word of an exporter by itself is insufficient to satisfy the requirement of a birth record. Information about birth records and measures employed to validate those records should be made available to a CFIA veterinarian upon request.
  3. Visual inspection: visual age verification is allowable for certification of younger animals which may be presented to an accredited veterinarian. Visual inspection may be used for animals which are under 3 years of age. It is recognized that the experienced practitioner is able to estimate the age of these young animals upon visual inspection, and that the accredited veterinarian is often knowledgeable about the cattle to be exported (for example, feed lots where cattle are essentially penned according to birth year or veal operations). Visual verification should only be used when the accredited veterinarian is confident about the age of the animals. If there is any concern that the animal(s) being inspected does not fall into this category, the accredited veterinarian should choose option i) or ii) above for age verification. As the animals get closer to an estimated age of 3 years, the accredited veterinarian should have more knowledge regarding the history of the animals, especially if the animals have been just recently assembled.

HA1296 – Breeding cattle to Mexico: requirements and completion

24. The cattle certified for export are either born and raised in Canada or legally imported from the U.S.

25. The cattle certified for export were born on or after January 1, 1999.

26. The exported cattle are identified with permanent identification approved under the Health of Animals Regulations, which allows the tracking of the animals to the herd of origin.

27. Canada is classified by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH; founded as Office International des Épizooties (OIE)) as a country with controlled risk with respect to BSE and complies with the conditions described in article 2.3.13 of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code (2007).

28. During the inspection prior to exportation, the animals were found to be clinically healthy.

29. Bovine brucellosis

The animals to be exported originate from herds officially free of brucellosis and they were submitted to an individual serological test with negative results (in accordance with Canadian Standards) within 60 days prior to the date of export. If the animals are less than six (6) months of age on the day of the shipment, the test is not required. The sample for brucellosis testing is submitted to a private laboratory approved by CFIA.

The date of sampling must be recorded in section 6. In the case where sampling has been done on different days, record the earliest date.

30. Bovine tuberculosis

All animals over 1 month of age at the time of export must be tested and found negative to the caudal fold intradermal tuberculin test, using 0.1 ml of PPD tuberculin. The test must be completed within 60 days of export.

The date of reading of the tests must be recorded in section 7. In the case where testing has been done on different days, record the earliest reading date.

31. The animals must be free of campylobacteriosis (C. fetus ssp. venerealis) and trichomoniasis. The following animals are exempted from testing:

  1. bulls that are issued from embryo transfer or artificial insemination, and have never been used for natural mating other than with virgin heifers
  2. heifers that have never mated naturally or that have been bred with artificial insemination only, or that have been bred with bulls exempted from testing as described in i) above.

If these conditions cannot be met, then animals must be tested with negative results.

Testing can be done either by CFIA staff or accredited veterinarians authorized to perform this function. Information on the procedure may be found in module 3.4

32. Canada is free of piroplasmosis.

33. The animals were inspected and found to be free of clinical signs for infectious bovine rhinotracheitis and leptospirosis. They were vaccinated against infectious bovine rhinotracheitis and leptospirosis, using a bacterin against five strains of Leptospira (L. pomona, L. icterohaemorrhagiae, L. canicola, L. grippotyphosa and L. hardjo). For both diseases, the vaccine was administered between 10 and 90 days prior to the date of export.

34. The animals are free of ectoparasites.

35. Canada is free of Boophilus spp. ticks.

36. The animals in the shipment were inspected by an official veterinarian or a veterinarian accredited by the CFIA, and were loaded under his/her supervision. The loading may be performed under the supervision of a designated technician.

37. From the point of shipping until their departure from Canada, the animals will be transported in sealed vehicles (see "Use and Control of CFIA Seals".

38. The vehicles used for the transportation of the animals were cleaned and disinfected prior to the loading of the animals.

39. A small number of "reserve" animals can be recorded on the export certificate. No strikeouts are allowed on the export certificate for the animals that are not loaded on the truck at the moment of departure.

40. A list of animals may be attached to the export certificate as long as it contains the same information as the table in the Appendix I. In this case, it must be recorded in the table of Appendix I that the list of animals included in the shipment is attached. This list must be initialed by the accredited veterinarian and "CFIA" must be stamped on every page. The reference number must also be recorded on each page and pagination must be present. The rest of Appendix I must be completed as usual.

41. The accredited veterinarian or their technician must, on the day of export, return to the farm, supervise the loading and apply CFIA seals to the transporting vehicles, after verifying that only the animals listed on the export certificate are included in the shipment. A CFIA seal must be applied to every door on the trailer.

42. The accredited veterinarian or their technician must record the number of animals in the shipment and the CFIA seal numbers in the appropriate section on the endorsed original health certificate, and initial the appropriate section. Please repeat this information on the copies of the certificate, as well as on the copy kept in the accredited veterinarian file.

6.4A Export to Mexico: certification requirements of cattle: multiple farms of origin or multiple trucks

1. Export of cattle picked up from different farms in the same truck

It is possible to send a shipment of cattle comprised of animals acquired from various farms and that would be transported in the same trailer to Mexico, which means that they are covered by different export certificates and could be inspected by different veterinarians, as long as the following procedures are followed:

  1. Each farm of origin must have a certificate signed by a veterinarian accredited for export cattle to Mexico.
  2. Once the animals have been loaded from the first farm, the accredited veterinarian (or his technician) must seal the shipment. The number of animals and seal numbers must be noted on the certificate.
  3. The accredited veterinarian (or his technician) responsible for the subsequent farm must break the seals applied from the preceding farm. Please remember that the designation certificate to affix seals does not permit the removal of official seals. An authorization from the district office in advance is required to remove an official seal. After verifying identification and loading the animals at the second farm, the trailer is sealed. The new seal numbers are written on the health certificate that covers the animals loaded, as well as noting the seal numbers that were discarded when the vehicle was opened. The total number of animals in the truck is recorded on the certificate.
  4. This procedure must be repeated until the shipment arrives at the border.

2. Export of cattle in multiple truck shipment on a single certificate

It is possible to send multiple trucks under a single export certificate as long as the following conditions are met:

The original and three copies of the official export certificate, completed as described above, must accompany the first truck, and three copies of the certificate must accompany each subsequent truck. Seal numbers applied on a truck must be recorded on the copies that accompany this truck. Accredited veterinarians must keep on file the seal numbers that have been applied to each truck.

The total number of animals in the shipment, not the total number in a specific truck, must be recorded on all copies since changes can occur when animals are unloaded and loaded again at feed and water rest stops. All trucks must pass at the U.S. border and arrive at the inspection station at the Mexico-U.S. border at the same time.

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