As some you might remember, I wrote a while back about the CFIA’s requirement that any puppies under eight months of age which are imported into Canada for “commercial purposes” must come from a USDA Licensed breeder.
Here’s a link to the original article:
CFIA defines ‘commercial purposes’ as a dog imported by anyone who has ever bred a litter, shown a dog, judged a dog, trained a dog or trialed a dog – in other words, any dog OTHER than one imported by an individual as ‘just a pet’ (By the way, if you are wondering how the CFIA determines if the person you are importing a dog from is “USDA approved”, they use this on line USDA Search tool, which can be accessed by anyone – http://acissearch.aphis.usda.gov/LPASearch/faces/LPASearch.jspx )
CFIA seems to believe that forcing Canadians to import only USDA inspected dogs will somehow ensure that the dogs being imported into are healthier than just ‘random’ bred dogs. The rationale might be sound – after all, CFIA likely feels that, if we only allow meat and poultry that has passed USDA inspections into Canada, why not apply the same restrictions to puppies?
The problem is that almost any kennel can pass a USDA inspection – or, if they fail one, they’ll be given almost unlimited chances to get their facility up to par.
In this most recent incident, as reported on Pet Connection, a mass distemper outbreak illustrates just how much of a fallacy the USDA “stamp of approval” really is:
More than 1000 dogs were euthanized as a last resort to thwart a canine distemper virus (CDV) outbreak at a USDA-licensed Kansas kennel, reports Dr. Bill Brown, Kansas’ Livestock Commissioner.
Am I supposed to feel better because the U.S. Department of Agriculture was “riding shotgun”? No, in fact their involvement makes the situation all the more deplorable. Canine distemper is completely preventable. How did the lethal combination of overcrowded, unclean conditions and inadequate vaccinations — the only way canine distemper can run rampant – manage to slip under the USDA radar?
Are Canadian breeders supposed to feel better knowing that the CFIA has now limited us to importing dogs which have come from conditions like these? It’s clear to all of us that a “USDA Inspected” label means nothing more than a verification of the fact that this breeder just has too many Goddamned dogs. You don’t see a lot of three or four dog hobby kennels rushing out to get USDA certified – that’s reserved for the forty, fifty, one hundred dog or more breeders, the ones who raise their dogs, as the Pet Connection article says, like livestock. And USDA inspections might work just fine for livestock, but they are failing for puppies over and over and over again.
The CBSA border guard who confronted my friend when she didn’t have the appropriate paperwork for her Scottish bred, expensively imported puppy said that they are paying close attention to breeder imports, because “Breeders lie”. Given a choice between being limited to my future breeding stock coming from a USDA Kennel that churns out puppies like widgets from a factory, or being a big old liar, I know what I choose.
The better question is, what does CFIA choose – and what do we, as Canadians, allow them to get away with choosing for us?