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Requirements for small ruminants imported from the United States for breeding, domestic or captive purposes

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Modified Option 2c has been removed from the policy on January 1, 2023.

Clarification in regards to the origin of the animals under general certification requirements.


Small ruminants
Members of the Family Bovidae; Subfamily Caprinae; Genus Ovis and Capra. In general, the term "small ruminants" applies to sheep and goats and their exotic relatives (of the genus Ovis and Capra).

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General import notes

Requirements for scrapie


Option for females

1. Female small ruminants for breeding, domestic or captive purposes can be imported onto any premises in Canada only if they originate from a premises enrolled in the United States Department of Agriculture Scrapie Flock Certification Program (USDA SFCP) that is determined to be a "negligible risk premises" of the following export categoriesFootnote 2:

Female small ruminants must be certified as originating from the following:

Negligible risk premises

A negligible risk premises is defined as a premises that has maintained the flock or herd of origin and has complied with the following conditions for at least 5 years (export monitored for a minimum of 5 years or export certified):


Options for males

2 a) Male small ruminants may be imported to any premises in Canada provided that they have acquired a minimum of 5 years of status in accordance with the Export Category of the USDA SFCP, which is equivalent to a female small ruminant originating from a negligible risk premises (export monitored for a minimum of 5 years or export certified)


2 b) Male sheep (rams) may be imported to any premises in Canada from any flock in the USA if they have undergone genotype testing and have been determined to be of the codon 136AA 171RR or 136AA 171QR genotype

Flocks and/or herds that have imported males that do not follow through with their obligations will be identified to the CFIA, and additional measures and/or enforcement actions, as determined by the CFIA based on the specifics of the animals in question (and which may include an order for destruction), will be applied.

Test requirements

Note: the animals being presented for importation must not come into contact with any animals, products, or equipment of lesser or unknown health status during the period between required testing and export to Canada. In addition, no new animals shall be added to the group intended for export, unless these animals have sanitary guarantees similar to those of the rest of the group.

Sheep (Ovis)

No test requirements

Goats (Capra)

Note: an animal that was born after its mother was tested is not required to meet the test requirements of the diseases mentioned below if the animal is imported into Canada at the same time as its mother. An animal that was born after its mother was tested, must be identified with permanent identification and recorded on the health certificate of its mother.

Brucellosis (B. abortus)

The animals must test negative for brucellosis, using the fluorescence polarization assay (FPA) or other test approvedFootnote 1 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for this purpose, conducted within 30 days of importation. The tests must be performed in a laboratory that is approved to perform the test by the official veterinary service of the country of export. The results of the brucellosis test (including the type of test performed) must be shown on the required health certificate for the animal to be imported.

Any animal with a non-negative result is ineligible for export to Canada.

An epidemiological investigation must be done, in addition to ancillary testing, to ensure disease exposure has not occurred.


The tuberculosis test is the caudal fold tuberculin test with a reading of results at 72 hours as "No Reaction," conducted within 60 days of importation. The results of the tuberculin test (including the date of test reading) must be shown on the required health certificate for the animal to be imported.

The caudal fold tuberculin test is to be conducted with a dose rate of 0.1 mL of Canadian bovine purified protein derivative (PPD) tuberculin – or product of equivalent potency approved by the CFIA – injected intradermally at the caudal fold site, and the injection site identified with a permanent ink marker, and the thickness of the skin recorded with caliper. The skin thickness should be observed and measured 72 hours post injection.

A reactor is any animal in which there is any visible or palpable disturbance at the site of injection.

Any reaction to the caudal fold test renders the reacting animal ineligible for export to Canada. To determine the eligibility of the remainder of the shipment, carry out an epidemiological investigation and ancillary testing that is acceptable to the CFIA (that is, the comparative cervical tuberculin [CCT] test, performed at least 60 days following the most recent tuberculin injection) on reactor animals.

Any animal that is a reactor to ancillary testing to the intradermal test is to be removed from the group of animals intended for export, and the entire testing protocol must begin again for the remainder of the group. A minimum interval of 60 days is always required between any tuberculin test performed in the subfamily Caprinae.

Bluetongue – Sheep and goats (State of Florida only)

Animals imported from Florida require a negative test for bluetongue, using the Competitive Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (cELISA) test methodology within 30 days prior to import.


In the case of a positive cELISA result, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test must be performed, with negative results for virus within 30 days of importation in order for the animal to be eligible for entry into Canada.

If a cELISA test positive animal is also positive on the PCR test, it is ineligible for export to Canada and must be removed from the group. The remainder of the shipment must be re-tested with negative results, using cELISA at least 28 days after the removal of the reactor animal.

It is suggested that animals being sampled have a serum sample and a blood sample drawn at the same time and that these be sent to the lab with the request that, if the cELISA test is positive, a PCR test should follow.

General certification requirements – Zoosanitary certificate for U.S. origin small ruminants

  1. Small ruminants may be imported into Canada from the U.S., if the animal is accompanied by a certificate of an official veterinarian of the U.S. or a certificate of a veterinarian authorized by the USDA, and endorsed by an official veterinarian of the U.S., clearly identifying the animal and showing the following:
    1. the animals must have resided in the USA or Canada since birth
    2. the small ruminant and its flock or herd of origin were inspected by a veterinarian within 30 days preceding the date of importation and were found to be free from communicable disease; and
    3. the animal was, to the best of the knowledge and belief of a veterinarian, not exposed to any communicable disease within 60 days preceding the date of the inspection
  2. The feeding to small ruminants of meat and bone meal or greaves of ruminant origin has been banned since 1997, and this prohibition is strictly enforced
  3. The small ruminant is identified by a permanent identification system, enabling traceback to its flock or herd of origin
  4. The small ruminant has in its right ear – or, if there is insufficient ear, in its inner right flank or tail web – a legible permanent tattoo that shows the letters "USA," at least 1 centimetre in height

The CFIA import permit number must be specified on the health certificate.

Permanent identification system

This is defined as one of the following:

For imported small ruminants that are required by section 189 of the Health of Animals Regulations to have an approved tag applied under the national Livestock Identification and Traceability Program, the importer must report the mandatory information to the responsible administrator, as required and within the time period specified. In those cases in which the animal does not already bear an approved 124 tag or an equivalent 840 tag at the time of import, the cross-referencing between the number on the indicator each animal was imported with and the number on the approved 124 tag applied upon arrival must be reported to the CFIA office where the importation occurred. Imported animals that are identified with U.S. equivalent 840 tags do not have to be re-tagged with an approved 124 tag upon arrival in Canada. However, the number on the equivalent 840 tag must still be reported as imported to the responsible administrator.

Border procedures

Documentation for importation must be presented to a CFIA veterinary inspector at the first point of entry. The shipment of animals must be presented to a CFIA veterinary inspector designated under the Health of Animals Act at the first point of entry. There must be prior arrangements made to ensure the provision of inspection at the appropriate time.


An exemption from these requirements for small ruminants will be considered on a case-by-case basis, considering that the intended use for animals imported is medical, for scientific research, or for zoological collections.

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