September 6, 2022

USDA APHIS Announcement Effectively Prohibits Importation of Game Bird Meat from Canada

Why It Matters: This announcement prohibits any U.S. hunter from bringing wild game bird into the United States that was harvested in Canada. While the announcement appears to allow the importation of processed (cooked) game bird meat, this importation of cooked meat could potentially violate other federal regulations. For example, to legally transport waterfowl, the head or one fully feathered wing of each bird being transported needs to remain intact to allow for proper identification. Cooking game bird meat, particularly waterfowl, to adhere to the APHIS announcement has the potential to put you in violation with other federal regulations.

On Friday evening around 6:30 p.m. eastern time, in advance of the Labor Day holiday weekend, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published an announcement that effectively prohibits the importation of unprocessed game bird meat from Canada.

Unfortunately, this announcement comes a week after APHIS stated they would only restrict imported meat from areas where birds were harvested in Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza priority control zones. However, Friday’s announcement applies to all Canadian provinces, and limits the importation of game bird meat regardless of which province the birds were harvested in.

Compounding the timing of the announcement is the fact that APHIS has not conducted a risk assessment study of how these restrictions would help reduce the spread of avian flu. Additionally, the APHIS announcement fails to recognize the fact that tens of millions of waterfowl and other game birds migrate from Canada to the United States each year.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) is currently working with USDA to address this troubling issue and ensure that hunters are not unjustly punished for a decision that lacks scientific justification.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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