OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 262 (File, 466, as amended by Senate "A")*

AN ACT PERMITTING THE IMPORTATION OF REINDEER.

SUMMARY:

This bill allows anyone to annually import reindeer into the state between Thanksgiving Day and the following New Year's Day, provided the reindeer (1) meets certain conditions and (2) is exported from the state by January 8 of each year. Current agency regulations prohibit the importation of reindeer (see BACKGROUND).

*Senate Amendment “A” establishes conditions for the importation of reindeer and changes the effective date.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2009

IMPORTATION CONDITIONS

Under the bill, each imported reindeer must:

1. be individually identified by a permanent metal ear tag, legible tattoo, or microchip;

2. possess a certified veterinary inspection report documenting an inspection that took place between one and 30 days before entry into the state;

3. possess documentation that verifies it (a)comes from a tuberculosis- and brucellosis-free herd or (b) tested negative for tuberculosis and brucellosis between one and 30 days before entry into the state; and

4. possess documentation that the originating herd took part in a chronic wasting disease (CWD) monitoring program at least: (a) the previous three years, if from a state or province not known to have CWD, or (b) the previous five years, if from a state or province known to have CWD outbreaks.

BACKGROUND

Reindeer Ban

Connecticut is one of a number of states that have banned the importation of captive members of the Cervidae family, including reindeer, because of the threat of CWD (Conn. Agency Regs. 22-278-6). State regulations also prohibit the importation of deer, moose, and elk carcasses or parts from states or provinces where CWD has been confirmed (Conn. Agency Regs. 26-55-4).

Reindeer and Chronic Wasting Disease

CWD is a rare, fatal disease found in members of the deer family (Cervidae), which includes white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, and reindeer. It is one of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE's), which also include bovine spongiform encephalopathy (Mad Cow disease) in cattle, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in people.

Once established in a deer population, control or eradication of CWD is extremely difficult. According to some wildlife experts, CWD has the potential to reduce deer populations in the long-term.

Although there has been no reported case of CWD in reindeer, researchers believe they would be susceptible to the disease because of their genetic similarity to deer that contract it.

Some states allow the importation of reindeer that are certified disease free. For example, New York monitors CWD-susceptible deer herds for evidence of CWD (and other diseases) for five years, during which time they cannot be shipped off-site. If there is no instance of CWD in that time, the deer may be shipped elsewhere. Because New York does not consider reindeer CWD-susceptible, reindeer herds are not required to participate in this herd certification program, but may do so voluntarily.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

27

Nay

3

(03/20/2009)