Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (FDACS) are issuing a Certificate of Animal Movement to Mr. and Mrs. Claus of the North Pole. The certificate will allow their reindeer – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph – to enter and exit all homes, domiciles, encampments, and premises in the state of Florida between the hours of 8:00 PM on December 24 and 7:00 AM December 25, through or over any U.S. border port.
“Given the challenges of this year, we want to ensure Santa Claus can safely travel the state and spread Christmas joy to all of Florida’s children,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “As Florida’s regulator for the entry of animals, we’re pleased to issue Santa’s necessary Certificate of Animal Movement early, waive all fees, and ensure proper safety protocols to protect against livestock diseases and COVID-19. On behalf of Floridians, we wish Santa and his reindeer good luck and a pleasant visit to the Sunshine State.”
In addition to routine safety and sanitization protocols for animal movements, Santa has also been advised to wear a mask, as Florida continues seeing sizable new COVID-19 cases. Santa will wear a mask at all times while delivering gifts, in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Santa and the reindeer will fly across Florida skies pulling a wooden sleigh with jingling bells attached, filled with brightly wrapped gifts. Port personnel will clean and disinfect the underside of the sleigh at the time of entry and will also conduct a short visual inspection of the reindeer. Santa will also have his gloves and boots disinfected, and will thoroughly wash his hands. These routine measures will help prevent the entry of any livestock diseases they may encounter during deliveries around the world prior to entering Florida.
The magical flying reindeer have undergone the necessary tests to ensure they will be able to safely handle significant changes in altitude and temperature on the journey and are fit for landing on rooftops. Dr. Michael Short, the State Veterinarian, has noted that one of the reindeer named Rudolph appears to have a red nose – however, this is not a health concern. The State Veterinarian also verified the reindeer have been vaccinated against diseases they could encounter on their trip around the world.
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 about the Division’s work here.