Wednesday, 12 June 2013 09:22


Written by  Ken Sandoe
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Disclaimer–This article is intended as general discussion and information on the topic covered, and is not to be construed as rendering legal advice. If legal advice is needed, you should contact an attorney. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in any manner without prior written permission of the author.

On March 11, 2013, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) began enforcing new Federal Regulations (9CFR Parts 71, 77, 78 and 86, Federal Register/Volume 78, No. 6, Wednesday, January 9, 2013, effective March, 2013) concerning the interstate movement of horses. The new Federal Regulations require an up-to-date Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI). This requirement is already the law in most states, but the new regulations make it mandatory in all states. (There are a few sections which will be discussed in this article.)

These new regulations are part of the USDA's new Animal Disease Traceability Program (ADTP) and apply to the interstate movement of all livestock. You may recall the controversy surrounding the USDA's voluntary program called the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). The NAIS involved the reporting of the identity of every animal, the premises where the animal was housed and every movement of an animal in order to accomplish traceability of a disease outbreak within 48 hours. The NAIS was withdrawn by the USDA because of its complexity, cost and practical inability to comply and police.

The Animal Disease Traceability Program was implemented to replace NAIS and is much less complex and does not require the specific reporting of every individual movement or the registration of premises housing the livestock. The intent and purpose of the ADTP program is, however, the same as that of the NAIS, that is, to help federal, state and local officials effectively identify in a timely manner and deal with disease outbreaks. It is hoped that this program will minimize the effects of a disease outbreak to the livestock industry.

The new ADTP program will be administered by the states with some undefined federal support. The ADTP regulations require that any horse moving across state lines must be properly identified and must have an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection. The rules allow identification of horses by description, i.e., markings, color, breed, age, sex, brands, etc., an animal identification number or electronic identification, digital photographs, USDA backtags, which are for horses being transported for slaughter pursuant to the Commercial Transport of Horses to Slaughter regulations, or by non-ISO electronic identification injected into the horse.

It is the responsibility of the person moving the horse to obtain the ICVI. The party issuing the ICVI, usually a veterinarian, must send a copy to the State Health Official in the state of origin within seven days. The State Official in the state of origin must then send a copy to the State Official in the state of destination within seven days. In this way, the papers can be used to trace and identify horses that may be affected or come into contact with horses that may be affected.

Pursuant to the ADTP Rules, the states are responsible for record and data retention. Further, the individual issuing the ICVI is required to keep a copy of the certificate for five years.

Under certain circumstances, a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection is not needed. The following four circumstances are exempt from the Rules:
1. Horses used for transportation to another state that return directly to the state of origin;
2. Horses moved to another state for veterinary care and return to the state of origin by the same owner;
3. Horses moved from a location in one state to another state to a different location in the original state; and
4. Horses moved between shipping and receiving states accompanied by an infectious anemia test chart (EIA), as agreed to between the shipping and receiving states.

Keep in mind that these are federal regulations. Each state also has its own requirements concerning animals coming into or through the state which must also be complied with. Almost all states require a current EIA test (Coggins Test) and a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. However, the requirements for a negative Coggins Test can vary from within six months to within 12 months depending on the state. For example, Pennsylvania requires a negative Coggins Test within 12 months, while neighboring West Virginia requires the same test within six months. Connecticut and Rhode Island require a rabies vaccine certificate and Alaska, Montana and Oregon require an individual state travel permit.

If you are planning an interstate horse hauling trip, it is wise to check with each state to determine the interstate hauling requirements.

Gone are the old days of loading the horses and going!

Enough legal talk–it’s time to hitch horses!

Ken is a practicing attorney in Myerstown, Pennsylvania, where a good bit of his practice involves negligence cases. He and his wife, Karen, own Sunny Hill Farm Belgians, and they have been exhibiting their six-horse hitch for several years at most major shows in the East.

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