Dr. Charlie Broaddus, State Veterinarian with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), has issued a permit to Nicolas “Santa” Claus, of the North Pole, to bring his herd of “eight tiny reindeer” and one additional rare red-nosed reindeer into Virginia on the evening of Dec. 24. While the USDA regulates the international movement of animals, the VDACS Office of Veterinary Services regulates the movement of animals into the Commonwealth of Virginia. DWR is charged with the management of the state’s wildlife resources.
All ruminants entering Virginia must bear identification, and the identification number must be noted on the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). Identification can be an ear tag issued by a state or federal entity, or other forms of identification approved by the State Veterinarian, and is critically important in tracing animals in the event of a significant disease outbreak. As the importation of deer into Virginia is generally prohibited, the State Veterinarian collaborated with DWR to issue the permit. A DWR permit is required to possess any member of the deer family in Virginia.
“Santa travels to Virginia each year with his herd of reindeer, and while his visit is brief, it is still vitally important to Virginia’s agricultural industry that the reindeer are safe and healthy. Santa takes great care of his herd and I am happy to issue an approved permit,” said Dr. Broaddus.
In discussing this approval, Santa said, “I love delivering Christmas presents to the Commonwealth. Virginia farmers produce some of the best products in the world. I especially enjoy the milk and eggnog and my reindeer really love Virginia Grown carrots and apples.”