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THIS JUST IN: USDA Issues Permit for Santa’s Reindeer to Enter the U.S.

Posted by Joelle Hayden, APHIS Public Affairs in Animals Plants
Feb 21, 2017
As Christmas Eve draws close, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is helping clear the way for a smooth trip for special visitors from the North Pole.  (USDA Photo)
As Christmas Eve draws close, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is helping clear the way for a smooth trip for special visitors from the North Pole. (USDA Photo)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today issued a movement permit to Mr. S. Claus of the North Pole, a broker with Worldwide Gifts, Unlimited.  The permit will allow reindeer to enter and exit the United States between the hours of 6 PM December 24, 2015 and 6 AM December 25, 2015, through or over any northern border port.

“During this season of giving, we agreed to waive the normal application fees and entry inspection/overtime costs,” said Dr. John Clifford, USDA’s Chief Veterinary Officer.  “USDA wants to do everything in its power to help Santa.” 

APHIS also waived the normally applicable disease testing requirements, as the North Pole is recognized by APHIS as negligible risk for all livestock diseases and at a recent inspection, the reindeer were found to be healthy and able to prance and paw with each hoof.

As a condition of entry, the reindeer must be certified by Santa Claus as never having been fed anything other than hay, sugar plums, and gingerbread.  The reindeer must also be individually identified with microchips or official eartag identification, and must respond to the names ‘Dasher’, ‘Dancer’, ‘Prancer’, ‘Vixen’, ‘Comet’, ‘Cupid’, ‘Donner,’  ‘Blitzen’ and ‘Rudolph’ when interacting with port personnel.  No more than one reindeer in the group may be visibly affected by ‘Rednose Syndrome’, and upon entry, port personnel will visually inspect the reindeer to ensure they are healthy and fit for continued travel.

They will arrive pulling a wooden sleigh that has jingling bells attached and is filled with brightly-wrapped gifts.  Port personnel will clean and disinfect the runners and underside of the sleigh at the time of entry.  With these steps completed, the reindeer will continue their journey across the country and around the world, spreading holiday cheer as they go.

APHIS regulates the movement of cervids, including reindeer, to protect the health of America’s livestock population.  The permitting process provides assurance that only healthy animals enter the United States.

Category/Topic: Animals Plants

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Mark Foreman
Dec 23, 2015

I'm particularly glad they have weed-wash stations for the sleigh. Thank you for the fun post.

Dec 24, 2015

Good to hear!

Rose Borrego
Dec 24, 2015

Thank you for this cute sweet story; truly brought a smile to my face that is forsure.

Broomfield Colorado

Dec 26, 2015

Let's hope the Reindeer don't eat the GE loblolly pine, it'll probably make them very sick or even kill them.

Carla Bowman
Dec 28, 2015

Very this article!! Thank you for brightening my work day!

Dec 28, 2015

I love this!

Jorge Betancur
Dec 29, 2015

Excellent! At the beginning I couldn't believe this was real. But I realize that they have to be cleared in order to enter US Soil. I really like this of the best of the year. Thanks for keeping the magic alive!

Angie Vanatta
Dec 29, 2015

Loved it! Thank you for keeping the magic alive.