April 01, 2005


 New BSE rule requires veterinarians for certain procedures

Posted March 15, 2005

Veterinarians need to pay special heed to several parts of the final rule titled "Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; Minimal-Risk Regions and Importation of Commodities," which was published in the Federal Register Jan. 4, 2005. The Department of Agriculture rule establishes regulations to govern the importation of certain live cattle, bison, sheep, and goats into the United States from Canada, including animals transported directly to a single feedlot and then to slaughter. At press time, the rule was scheduled to go into effect on March 7.

The USDA has issued a memo to accredited veterinarians to emphasize that only an accredited veterinarian, or a federal or state veterinary medical officer, may remove government seals on vehicles transporting feeder cattle, bison, sheep, or goats from the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service port of entry to a feedlot, as well as complete VS Form 17-130, "Ruminants Imported to Designated/Approved Feedlots." An accredited veterinarian, or a federal or state veterinary medical officer, must break the seals, complete items 13 to 18, and return the form to the port of entry. Alternatively, accredited veterinarians can designate one of their employees to perform this function.

The new rule also states that a veterinarian, or a state or USDA representative, must issue VS Form 1-27, "Permit for Movement of Restricted Animals." To certify a shipment of Canadian cattle, bison, sheep, or goats for movement to slaughter, an accredited veterinarian must review Canadian health certificates to determine that the cattle or bison are less than 30 months old, and the sheep or goats are less than 12 months old. General instructions for completing VS Form 1-27 can be found in Veterinary Services Memorandum No. 575.14.

For a permit to be issued, the vehicle must be sealed, the seal numbers must be listed under item 15 on VS Form 1-27, and only Canadian animals can be shipped in the vehicle. These Canadian animals will be branded and cannot be mixed with U.S. animals going to slaughter. A copy of the Canadian health certificates must be attached to VS Form 1-27. Because each VS Form 1-27 has space to include only 16 ear tag numbers, it may be necessary to complete more than one VS Form 1-27 per shipment.

A shipment must also be accompanied by a copy of the VS Form 17-130 that was issued by the port veterinarian when the animals were imported. This form will be important as a verification that the animals in the shipment were not moved from their destination at import to another location before going directly to slaughter.