Regulations regarding the importation of horses from countries affected with contagious equine metritis (CEM), a serious venereal disease, have an additional certification requirement for imported horses 731 days of age or less with added new testing protocols for test mares and imported stallions, and mares more than 731 days of age.
The Department of Agriculture is taking these actions in response to incidents that prompted an investigation by an expert review panel, which identified specific weaknesses in the current regulations. This action will provide additional safeguards against the introduction of CEM through the importation of affected horses.
This rule is final. Its effective date is March 25, 2011.
The regulations provide that some types of horses may be imported from CEM-affected regions without restriction. For instance, weanlings and yearlings are exempt under Sec. 93.301(c)(2)(iii).
Other horses are allowed to be imported from CEM-affected regions provided they meet certain requirements that include quarantine, testing, and treatment as provided under Sec. 93.301(d), (e), and (f).
Horses that fall under this category include Spanish Pure Breed horses from Spain; racing thoroughbreds from Germany, France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom; stallions and mares over 731 days of age; and horses that are imported under special provisions for temporary importation for competition or entertainment purposes.
Approximately 2,500 horses imported from CEM-affected regions undergo CEM quarantine in the United States each year. Over the past 10years, despite current requirements for pre-import CEM testing in the country of origin, more than 28 CEM-positive horses have been identified during quarantine in the United States.