Alaska State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Gerlach issued a series of health certificates allowing Santa’s reindeer to travel from Alaska across state lines for toy delivery. While this annual effort attracts attention, it’s just a regular day for the Office of the Alaska State Veterinarian, the Department of Environmental Conservation noted in a press release.
Office of the State Veterinarian is part of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Environmental Health and is responsible for carrying out a wide variety of programs protective of both animal and human health, which in turn safeguards the health and food capacity of Alaska’s livestock, reindeer (both magical and non-magical), and poultry, and prevents the transmission of animal disease to humans, DEC wrote.
What does this look like on a day-to-day basis? The work that Dr. Gerlach, Dr. Sarah Coburn, and their team do includes:
- collaborating with veterinarians and partner agencies across the state to address issues such as tick surveillance and rabies outbreaks in Alaska
- conducting dairy inspections that look at both the health of the animals and the milk they produce to achieve a Grade “A” designation
- ensuring all domestic animals are cared for in the event of an area-wide emergency
- overseeing requirements for safely growing and selling produce in Alaska
“As you can imagine, I regularly work with livestock veterinarians around the world,” said Santa Claus, according to the DEC. “I can confirm that Dr. Gerlach and Dr. Coburn are top-notch, and are a real gift to Alaskans all year!”
The project has so far confirmed that Santa’s reindeer are safe to land on roof tops in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Texas.
In Pennsylvania, the governor even issued a press release about it, with quotes from the governor. Gov. Tom Wolf was joined by Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding and Pennsylvania State Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill to meet Santa and his nine reindeer at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane on Thursday to announce that the reindeer had received a clean bill of health and are cleared for take-off on Dec. 24.
“I’m excited to announce that Santa’s reindeer are in good health–despite one’s very bright red nose–and ready to deliver toys to the good girls and boys of Pennsylvania tomorrow evening,” said Gov. Wolf. “I’m grateful to the Department of Agriculture for coordinating to ensure not only a merry Christmas morning across the commonwealth but keep animals in Pennsylvania safe and healthy. All nine reindeer are physically fit and in good spirits, they’re ready to fly this holiday season.”
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph received clearance to fly to Pennsylvania from Alaska’s Dr. Gerlach. This Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and Permit to Ship certifies them to fly from rooftop to rooftop across the commonwealth for the purpose of toy delivery on Christmas Eve.
“Thanks to Dr. Brightbill and his counterpart in Alaska, we can certify Santa’s reindeer are healthy and can safely fly across state lines,” said Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Redding. “Veterinary health inspections are a great preventative measure to ensure animals are healthy and able to travel. We greatly appreciate Santa taking these necessary steps to promote the wellbeing of his reindeer.”
(We just report the news here. Don’t be a Scrooge!)