Requirements for Small Ruminants Imported from the United States for Feeding and Subsequent Slaughter

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

Looking for related documents?
Search for related documents in the Guidance Document Repository

May 13, 2016

Small Ruminants: are defined as members of the Family: Bovinidae, Subfamily: Caprinidae, Genus: Ovis and Capra. In this document, the term "small ruminants" applies to domestic sheep and goats. Small ruminants imported for feeding purposes may be male or female, intact, or neutered male animals. Females with lambs/kids at foot or visibly pregnant or unweaned animals (including lambs or kids on milk replacer) do not meet the criteria for small ruminants for feeding and subsequent slaughter and are not permitted entry to Canada under the provisions of the program. Small ruminants for feeding purposes and subsequent slaughter must be entered for a minimum twenty-one (21) day feeding period before removal to slaughter and must be under twelve (12) months of age at the time of slaughter.

Feedlot: A premises or location where small ruminants are being maintained for feeding and finishing to market weight, followed by movement to a slaughter plant in Canada or the United States (US). The movement of all small ruminants in a feedlot must only be direct to slaughter. No animal that comes from the feedlot may be moved to any other premises or through a sales facility in Canada, and is not eligible to enter the Canadian national herd. The restrictions and need for documented record keeping apply to all animals in the designated feedlot that is housing imported animals, unless there is an approved separation between yards.

Importation of all small ruminants to Canada is controlled under Section 12.(1) of the Health of Animals Regulations which requires an import permit that specifies the manner and conditions for importation as well as any additional requirements.

Import permit issuance requires an application to be submitted and prior approval of a location with supporting evidence that the terms and conditions of the requirements will be complied with. A permit must be issued before animals arrive at a port of entry for import. A permit for the import of small ruminants for feeding and subsequent slaughter may be issued for multiple shipments over a period of one (1) year.

A. Application for an Import Permit

1. The applicant must be a Canadian resident or corporation.

2. An application for a permit, Form CFIA/ACIA 5083 - Application for Permit to Import, must be made in writing and submitted to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Centre of Administration, which can be contacted at:

Phone number: 1-855-212-7695
Fax: 289-247-4068 Email:

3. The applicant must also submit a diagram of the layout of the premises and documentation outlining the feedlot management practices to facilitate a review of the ability to carry out any of the required risk management measures. This is to be provided to the CFIA staff who will perform the initial inspection of the premises for the purposes of approval.

4. During the CFIA inspection visit, the feeding operation must demonstrate the following:

  1. facilities for the handling and tracking of newly imported small ruminants;
  2. protocols that will complete any required post-entry procedures;
  3. maintenance of records; and
  4. a records management system that tracks movements of animals into and within the feedlot, and from the feedlot to a slaughter facility, and that provides confirmation of slaughter.

5. The applicant must inform CFIA of the service provider that will be used for the inspection at the feedlot and regular audits.

B. Import Requirements

Small ruminants may be imported into Canada from the United States for feeding purposes and slaughter, if the animals are accompanied by a certificate of an official veterinarian of the United States or a certificate of a veterinarian licensed in the United States and endorsed by an official veterinarian of the United States. The certificate is valid for thirty (30) days from the date of inspection of the animals.

1. Certification Statements to Appear on the Health Certificate

  1. the animals are identified by a permanent identification system recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture and are not under restriction for movement, slaughter, or destruction control;
  2. the animals were inspected by a veterinarian within thirty (30) days preceding the date of importation, and it was determined that:
    1. the animals are free from any communicable disease;
    2. the animals have resided in the United States or Canada their entire life and were, to the best of the knowledge and belief of the signing veterinarian, not exposed to any communicable disease within sixty (60) days preceding the date of the inspection;
    3. the animals are fit to travel and can be transported to Canada without undue suffering by reason of infirmity, illness, injury, fatigue, or any other cause; and
    4. to the best of the knowledge and belief of the certifying veterinarian, the small ruminants in the shipment are not pregnant, and young stock included in the shipment have been weaned and are not on milk replacer.
  3. Additional Information

    The official health certificate must also include:

    1. the name and address of the importer;
    2. the location of the importing feedlot;
    3. the name and address of the exporter;
    4. individual animal identification, which includes age in months, sex, breed, colour, markings, and any other identification present on the animal, including brands; and
    5. the CFIA import permit number
    6. test requirements:

      1) ovine - There are no test requirements for sheep imported for feeding purposes and removal to slaughter.

      2) caprine - Goats imported for feeding purposes and removal to slaughter require a negative tuberculin test within sixty (60) days of import. The date of test and negative result must be shown on the certificate.

  4. The feeding of meat and bone meal or greaves of ruminant origin to small ruminants has been banned since 1997, and the prohibition is strictly enforced.

2. Vehicle Sealing

  1. Official United States Department of Agriculture or State seals must be applied by the accredited veterinarian to all animal exits from the truck(s) or trailer(s) transporting the shipment following loading.
  2. The seal numbers and the number of animals in the vehicle must be recorded on the certificate and initialed to verify their application.

3. Documentation for Importation and Border Requirements

  1. All small ruminants exported to Canada under this program must be accompanied by an original export certificate and one copy of that certificate.
  2. If the shipment is contained in several vehicles, the original plus one copy of the certificate must be in the first vehicle to the Canadian port of entry. Each subsequent vehicle must carry two copies of the export certificate, one of which has recorded the numbers of the seals applied to the vehicle and the number of animals in the vehicle.
  3. Two copies of the permit issued to import small ruminants into Canada must accompany every shipment.
  4. Upon arrival at a port of entry, the shipment of small ruminants must be presented to Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) personnel accompanied by the documentation listed above.
  5. CBSA will release the shipment if all documents are presented and in order.A cursory examination of the shipment will be made by CBSA and if issues of non-compliance or welfare are noted the shipment will be referred to CFIA.

4. Inspection at Destination - Approved Feedlot

  1. The importer shall notify the CFIA district office of the date of arrival of the small ruminants as far in advance as possible, but no later than twenty-four (24) hours prior to arrival of the animals. The details for inspection at destination must be provided, or arrangements must be made for CFIA inspection.
  2. Upon arrival at the feedlot, the seals may be broken and the small ruminants unloaded in a manner acceptable to an inspector designated under the Health of Animals Act.
  3. The animals must be presented for inspection and processing, as specified, within forty - eight (48) hours of arrival. As per prior arrangements, inspection may be performed by provincial authorities in the course of other functions or a private veterinarian performing service on behalf of the feedlot; otherwise, service will be performed by CFIA staff. To aid in verification, the importer will provide a list of USA origin small ruminants showing cross reference of CCIA tags to USDA tags (when applicable) and management tags. Typically, inspection and verification of identification will be done at a 15-percent level, unless non-compliance is observed. If a non-compliance is observed, the inspection rate for that shipment should be increased to 100%. Any concerns should be immediately reported to the CFIA district office in charge of the feedlot for further follow-up as deemed necessary.

5. Controls at Slaughter Facilities

  1. All plants (federal or provincial) are required to provide documented proof of age verification (<12 months) and identification of animals slaughtered. A protocol is provided for the disposition of condemned carcasses.
  2. Importers will provide a corrective action plan for carcasses found to be greater than 12 months of age. Repeated non-compliance may result in the cancellation of the import permit.

C. Standards for Operation of Feedlot Approved to Import Small Ruminants for Feeding and Subsequent Slaughter

Upon arrival at the approved feedlot:

  1. The imported animals must be presented for inspection.
  2. Small ruminants imported under this program must be promptly identified with a tag approved for that species under the Canadian National Identification Program. The importer must maintain a record cross-referencing the Canadian tag applied to each imported animal with the United States Department of Agriculture ear tag (when applicable) and the feedlot management tag. United States Department of Agriculture tags must not be removed from imported animals.

    Imported animals that are identified with US identifiers that have been deemed equivalent by the responsible administrator to Canadian identification tags do not have to be re-tagged upon arrival in Canada.However, tag information must still be reported to the CFIA and the respective animal identification agency as required by the Health of Animals Regulations.

  3. The Canadian approved eartags used to identify the imported animals and information about the origin of each animal must be reported to the CFIA and the respective animal identification agency within the period prescribed by the Health of Animals Regulations.
  4. All other small ruminants in the feedlot, in addition to the imported animals, must bear an approved tag, and records of identification and location in the feedlot must be maintained in the records database.
  5. Approved tags must be reported as retired or exported to both the CFIA and the respective animal identification agency within the period prescribed by Health of Animals Regulations. If the feedlot is not able to provide the list of Canadian approved tags of small ruminants going to slaughter at the time of shipment,a verifiable method of audit reporting that accounts for imported animals sent to slaughter and remaining in the feedlot suitable to the CFIA district veterinarian must be presented at the time of premises approval. This process is only available for small ruminants going directly to slaughter in Canada.

D. Record Keeping

  1. The operator of an approved feedlot must maintain a record-keeping system that can document the movements of all animals into the feedlot, within the feedlot, and from the feedlot. Methods must be in place to track all small ruminants within the feedlot and their movement to slaughter or to export (for slaughter). All small ruminants in the feedlot housing imported animals are not permitted to move out of the feedlot for any purpose other than movement to slaughter, exported direct for slaughter or disposal as a carcass. The record-keeping system must be capable of storing information for a period not less than one year after the last imported animal has left the feedlot.
  2. It is the responsibility of the importer to ensure that the imported animals are managed in accordance with the import permit and associated import policy from the time of entry into Canada to the time of slaughter or exported direct to slaughter.

Animal Health Records

  1. Feedlots should be monitored for signs of disease by feedlot personnel and/or veterinarians on a daily basis.
  2. Records must be kept, as required by a licensed veterinarian, to document treatment for animals in the feedlot, and must include reports for any post-mortem diagnosis made by the veterinarian on animals that die while in the feedlot.
  3. If the feedlot operator or veterinarian performing duties in the feedlot is aware of any significant increase in feedlot morbidity or mortality above what is typical for that feedlot and which the veterinarian cannot explain, then the CFIA District Veterinarian shall be contacted by the veterinarian and they will jointly conduct a disease investigation to determine that the increase in disease occurrence is not due to a reportable disease.
  4. Should any disease reportable under the Health of Animals Act be diagnosed in an animal or animals in a feedlot approved to import restricted feeders, the CFIA shall be immediately notified.The importer must keep the affected animal(s) separate and may apply treatment for clinical manifestations of disease under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian where approved.
  5. Any animal that aborts or lambs/kids in a pen containing imported animals must be reported immediately to the CFIA. Controls must be demonstrated at the time of approval for the disposal of expelled material on the premises and without exposure to other animals nor interference by domestic or wild canines.

E. Post Import Audits

1. First Visit – Post-Arrival Imported Small Ruminants for Feeding and Subsequent Slaughter

The operator of a feedlot acquiring small ruminants under this program must have ready by the fifteenth (15) day after the import of a group of animals the following documentation:

  1. the export health certificate(s) that accompanied all import shipments and records for breaking of seals if not performed by CFIA staff;
  2. confirmation of inspection of imported feeders at the feedlot if not performed by the CFIA; and the records of the Canadian approved tag numbers applied to imported animals matched to the U.S. tag number and management tag.
  3. record of pen allocation correlated with the identification listed on the export health certificate(s) for imported animals, and the Canadian approved identification and pen allocation of all other animals that constitute the feedlot containing imported animals;
  4. records of program-mandated inspection of imported animals;
  5. results of any post-mortem diagnosis made by a licensed veterinarian on imported animals;
  6. movements of Canadian small ruminants from the feedlot for slaughter since the arrival of the imported feeders.

2. Post-Arrival Audits

On-site audits of feedlots housing imported animals are to occur at least every two (2) months to examine and verify the following records:

  1. records of pen allocation correlated with identification for imported animals and the pen allocation, and numbers for all other animals that constitute the feedlot containing imported animals;
  2. results of any post-mortems performed by a licensed veterinarian on all animals since the arrival of imported animals; and
  3. movement of all the small ruminants, as required in the "Record Keeping" section, since the arrival of the imported animals, or the last audit visit, and the records for confirmation of slaughter.

Feedlots are responsible for the cost of having private veterinarians or approved provincial authorities perform functions.

The final responsibility lies with the importer to ensure that their service provider (private veterinarians or provincial authorities) submit reports to the CFIA district office at the required time intervals and that all other requirements of the import permit are met.

Where the audit function cannot be performed by a private veterinarian, a CFIA veterinarian will conduct the audits as per prior arrangements made with the appropriate district at the time of premises approval.

The CFIA district office may, at their discretion, increase the frequency of the post-arrival audits if any non-compliance is observed.

3. Feedlots must arrange to provide notification to CFIA district offices by fax or other means prior to, or at the time of, departure of animals to a slaughter location. The information, at a minimum, must include the number of both imported feeders and Canadian animals leaving and the destination (plant for slaughter).

4. CFIA oversight will include random monthly searches of the CCIA database to confirm the disposition of animals reported as going to slaughter in Canada or exported direct to slaughter in the U.S. CFIA may conduct an inspection of the records, facilities and animals at any time.

5. Audits may be increased or may take place at any time where compliance with the requirements of the program is in doubt.

6. A feedlot remains subject to all audit conditions between the time of the import of the first group of US animals and the feedlot being completely empty of all the imported animals. However, after the imported animals have vacated the feedlot, one additional health record, submitted up to one month later, must be provided to the CFIA district office for review.

F. Permit Cancellation

  1. An import permit may be cancelled at the request of the applicant.
  2. An import permit may be canceled by notification by the CFIA to the permit holder following identification of a deficiency or non-compliance.
  3. Where an import permit has been canceled, the import permit may be re-issued following re-application and demonstration of correction of the deficiency.
  4. Import permits will not be re-issued to a premises that has been found to contravene the permit conditions.

G. Post Entry Requirements

1. The animals must be slaughtered before they reach twelve (12) months of age, as determined by dentition.

H. Fees

Fees will be collected as per the CFIA Fees Notice.

Date modified: