Importing and Exporting Pigeons
Between Canada and the United States
by Clint Robertson
fanciers have the idea that traveling across the Canada/U.S. border with birds
is too difficult and involves a great deal of expense and paper work. I have
not found this to be the case. Firstly
let us discuss the export of birds from Canada to the U.S.. It makes no difference
if you are attending a show and bringing your birds back with you again or leaving
the birds in the U.S. the health requirements will be the same. Before you can
even consider getting the paper work done you must be sure your birds are absolutely
healthy and to the best of your knowledge free from any type of sickness. This
is no different than if you were to be attending a show here in Canada. All
pigeons entering the U.S. from Canada must have been vaccinated against Paramyxovirus
at least 30 days prior to and not more than 6 months before export. The entire
procedure must be approved by and finally, federally certified with, a Federal
CFIA stamp from the Canadian Food Inspection Vet in charge of your area. The
first step you should take is to contact the CFIA office for your area and let
them know that you plan to export pigeons to the U.S. and they will let you
know exactly what they will require from you. The CFIA now allows your local
vet to do the paper work and inspect your birds and your loft. You can then
contact your local vet and arrange an appointment for the vet to come out and
inspect your birds and your loft. The vet will want to see all of your birds
and all of your lofts regardless if these other birds are being exported. Any
sign of sickness will most likely result in your request being denied. It is
your responsibility to make sure your birds are healthy and your lofts are clean.
The vet will probably check the band numbers and may handle the birds involved.
When first contacting the office of the Vet who will be dong the inspection
you should have available the exact band numbers of the birds to be shipped
and the date they will be traveling as well as the destination. If you are shipping
the birds to someone else in the U.S. they will also need the name, address
and phone number of the person receiving them. I can not emphasize enough the
importance of checking and double checking the band numbers to make sure they
are correct on the paper work.You may want to just fax this information to the
vets office prior to the visit so they can have much of the paper work filled
out prior to the visit. Normally birds traveling to the U.S. must be inspected
within the week of the intended border crossing. Your local vet will inspect
the birds and you will have to pay the mileage as well as the fee for inspection
which is around $75.00. Your local vet will then forward the paperwork to the
Federal Vet for your area where it will be given the Federal stamp of approval.
It should be noted that pigeons DO NOT require a salmonella test to qualify
for export. Only waterfowl and some poultry require this test but not pigeons.
I have been in contact with the CFIA and have been assured this is the case.
Once you have the paperwork done contact the United States Department of Agriculture
vet at your intended port of entry crossing and make an appointment to have
your birds inspected when you cross. You will have to pay another fee for this.
Ask what the fee for this will be. If you are crossing after regular work hours
or on the weekend there will be an additional cost and for sure you will have
to make special arrangements with the vets on both sides. I cannot emphasize
enough the importance of making these appointments and being on time. Also make
an appointment with the CFIA vet for your return crossing because your paperwork
will again have to be inspected when you re-enter Canada on the Canadian side.
Being punctual and courteous could make all the difference in the world for
you getting through quickly and without a hassle. Do not worry if you sell or
leave birds in the U.S. that were on your papers. All that matters is that the
birds you do have are listed. It is wise not to say too much. Just answer questions
and be polite. You will also be asked the value of your birds. We are always
tempted to put high values on what we have but whatever you do, do not over
value your birds. If you are flying into the U.S. with your birds your birds
will have to be inspected at the first Port of Entry at the airport you arrive
at. Make sure when booking your flight that you will be landing at an airport
where a USDA vet is available and make sure you or your travel agent informs
them that you will have pigeons to be inspected.
Importing Pigeons From The U.S.
importing pigeons from the U.S. similar procedures apply. Pigeons entering
Canada from the U.S. must be vaccinated against Paramyxovirus within
6 months and more that 30 days before entering Canada. The Person sending
you the birds will have to get them inspected by their local vet who will
then have the papers stamped by the USDA vet for the area. The birds and papers
must then be inspected by the CFIA vet at the first Port of Entry. The birds
must be inspected within an amount of time specified by the CFIA or the papers
will not be valid. Again make sure you notify the vet at the intended Port
of Entry. We are fortunate that there is no quarantine required for pigeons
traveling between Canada and the U.S. It is important to know that pigeons
cannot be sent by mail between the U.S. and Canada.
Exporting Pigeons Overseas
country has different health requirements. If you are planning to send pigeons
overseas you must first contact the CFIA and ask what the requirements are
to send birds to that specific country. They will find this out for you. For
instance some countries require birds to be vaccinated against Paramyxovirus
and other counties , such as Australia, require that the birds must not be
vaccinated. Some countries require incoming birds to be quarantined while
other countries such as many in the Middle East do not require that the birds
be quarantined. The person importing the birds must first go to their government
ministry of agriculture office and get a permission to import permit. This
will also list the requirements for importing to that country. You must then
have a signed, stamped copy sent to you to present to the CFIA and this will
have to accompany the birds when they are sent along with the health papers.
The permission to import permit will have an expiry date on it also, normally
it is valid for about 30 days. I have found booking proper airline flights
with acceptable connections can be frustrating. There are often transit fees
involved and some very strict requirements, depending on the airline, for
the type and construction of shipping crates for the birds. If you contact
the airline they will provide you with crate requirements. When shipping overseas
most airlines require that the crates must provide the birds access to feed
and water. Also some require that each bird be in an individual stall. Make
sure you follow the requirements or they will not think twice about rejecting
the shipment or worse having it get to the first connection and have it rejected
by the next airline and sent back at your expense.
Clint Robertson Email: firstname.lastname@example.org