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Steve Weber (603) 271-2461
Jane Vachon (603) 271-3211
August 13, 2003

USDA Revises Import Ban on Canadian Ruminants -- Again
Hunters May Import Meat With Permit

CONCORD, N.H. -- U.S. residents hunting in Canada will be allowed to bring home their harvest, now that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has lifted restrictions on importing most hunter-harvested wild ruminant products intended for personal use, with certain conditions. On August 8, Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman said that the USDA will begin accepting applications for import permits for certain ruminant-derived products from Canada.

Since May 20, most ruminants (including hunter-killed deer, elk, moose and caribou) and ruminant products from Canada had been banned by the USDA from entering the U.S. because of a confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a cow in Canada. The decision to lift the ban follows a thorough scientific analysis of the international standards set for animal health, an exhaustive epidemiological investigation into the case by Canada and additional mitigation measures put in place by Canada. Noting that the initial ban was made to prevent the introduction of BSE into the United States, and to protect the U.S. food supply, Veneman said, "Our experts have thoroughly reviewed the scientific evidence and determined that the risk to public health is extremely low." Surveillance will continue.

Hunters may immediately begin bringing wild ruminant meat products intended for their personal use into the U.S. at selected ports of entry. They will need a completed "Veterinary Services Special Permit for the Importation of Hunter-Harvested Wild Ruminant Meat," along with one of the following: a valid Canadian export certificate for game meat, or a copy of a valid hunting license or a valid hunting tag. The permit form and import guidelines can be downloaded from www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/bse/bse.html or obtained by calling the APHIS National Center for Import and Export at (301) 734-3277.

New Hampshire hunters should note that imports of wild ruminants are limited to certain ports of entry, and that officials at the Pittsburg border crossing cannot let hunter-killed ruminants through, even with a permit. The approved ports of entry closest to New Hampshire are Derby Line, VT; Highgate Springs, VT; Holton, ME; and Champlain, NY.

For more information on BSE, visit www.aphis.usda.gov.

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