(USDA) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a movement permit to Mr. S. Nicholas 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 7 p.m. Dec. 24 and 7 a.m. Dec. 25 through or over any U.S. border port.
“With a growing world population, Mr. Claus will have his busiest Christmas yet. At USDA, we want to ensure we are not hindering Mr. Claus’ important work of spreading Christmas Cheer for all to hear,” said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “Ease of access into the United States for Mr. Claus and his nine reindeer will ensure that children all over the country – including my own fourteen grandchildren – will wake up on Christmas morning with joy and filled with the spirit of the season. USDA issued this permit in advance and waived all applicable fees to help ensure a smooth trip on Christmas Eve night.”
In addition to the normal disease-testing requirements, flying reindeer must undergo additional tests to ensure they will be able to safely handle significant changes in altitude and temperature throughout their journey, and are fit for landing on rooftops. On this year’s health certificate, the accredited veterinarian noted that one of the reindeer named Rudolph was positive for “red nose syndrome,” however, it was also explained that this is normal for him and not an animal health concern. The veterinarian also verified the reindeer have been vaccinated against any diseases they could encounter on their trip around the world.
At the request of Mr. and Mrs. Claus, APHIS also completed a courtesy welfare and humane treatment check of the reindeer facility. Mr. Claus and his staff passed with flying colors.
They will arrive pulling a wooden sleigh with jingling bells attached, filled with brightly wrapped gifts. Port personnel will clean and disinfect the runners and underside of the sleigh at the time of entry, and will also conduct a short visual inspection of the reindeer. Mr. Claus will also have his boots disinfected and will thoroughly wash his hands. These measures are intended to prevent the entry of any livestock diseases the team may encounter during deliveries to farms around the world prior to entering the United States.
“It would be a disaster for Worldwide Gifts, Unlimited if my reindeer were to unintentionally bring in foot and mouth disease along with all the gifts,” explained Mr. Claus. “Why, something like that could put me out of business. That’s why we work all year to keep the reindeer healthy and take all possible precautions before and during our trip.”
Mr. Claus has also provided an advance list of what port personnel should expect upon their arrival. This includes a variety of food items, all of which come from approved locations and none of which pose a threat to U.S. animal or plant health.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture