USDA Announces Interim Rule Regarding the Importation of Horses from Contagious Equine Metritis – Affected Countries

For your information, I am posting this press release from the US Department of Agriculture. An unusual move was made over the weekend to change the rules for importing mares and stallions for breeding. This is an important change but it applies only to horses imported for breeding purposes, and only to horses imported from certain countries. If this applies to you, you should know that the procedures for testing have been changed and you must comply with the new methods for obtaining swabs. The new regulations take effect immediately.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is amending its regulations regarding the importation of horses from countries affected with contagious equine metritis (CEM).

“The additional testing added to our existing import regulations will strengthen protections for horses in the United States,” said John R. Clifford, deputy administrator for APHIS’ veterinary services program.

APHIS is taking this action after reviewing probable causes of CEM outbreaks in the United States. This review identified the need to strengthen testing protocol for horses arriving from CEM-affected countries.

To strengthen this protocol, APHIS is requiring additional entry requirements for imported horses of certain ages. For yearlings and weanlings, proof must be given that they have not been bred to other horses either through artificial insemination or through live cover. Test mares and imported stallions above a certain age are now required to undergo an additional CEM test that will help improve the accuracy of final test results. These actions will provide additional safeguards against the introduction of CEM through the importation of affected horses.

This interim rule is published in today’s March 25 Federal Register and became effective upon publication.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before May 24. If you wish to submit a comment online, go to the Federal eRulemaking portal at

Or you may send a copy of your comments by postal mail or commercial delivery to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0112, Regulatory Analysis and Development, Policy and Program Development, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0112.

Comments are posted on the website and may also be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.




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