TALLAHASSEE, FL – Yesterday, December 23, 2019, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (FDACS) Division of Animal Industry issued a Certificate of Animal Movement to Mr. and Mrs. Claus of the North Pole. The permit will allow their reindeer to enter and exit “all homes, domiciles, encampments, and premises in Florida” between the hours of 8:00 PM December 24, 2019 and 7:00 AM December 25, 2019, through or over any U.S. border port.
“Here at the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, we want to ensure Mr. Claus can spread the joy of Christmas to children across Florida – that’s why we’re issuing his certificate of animal movement ahead of time and waiving all fees,” shared Commissioner Nikki Fried. “As the state’s regulator for the entry of many different animals, it’s our job to make sure animals entering Florida like Rudolph, and the rest of the reindeer, are safe and sanitary. Our entire Department is committed to making sure Mr. Claus and his reindeer have a seamless visit to our state.”
In addition to the normal disease testing requirements, the magical, flying reindeer have undergone additional tests to ensure they will be able to safely handle significant changes in altitude and temperature on their journey, and are fit for landing on rooftops. On this year’s health certificate, the State Veterinarian noted that one of the reindeer named Rudolph was positive for “red nose syndrome,” however, 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.
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They reindeer will fly across Florida’s skies 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 Florida.
FDACS’ Division of Animal Industry regulates the entry of many livestock and poultry breeds and most exotic species into Florida and into shows and exhibitions in the state. Learn more here.