Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santa's reindeer cleared to land in Georgia Christmas Eve

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin has granted a special 24-hour permit for nine flying reindeer to visit Georgia on the evening of December 24th and in the early morning hours of December 25th and has received a certification from the applicant that the sleigh and reindeer will be free of any foreign pests or invasive plant species.

The permit application to waive the routine identification and other health requirements was filed this week by a North Pole toymaker who signed the paperwork, “Kris Kringle.” The reindeer named on the permit are: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen and Rudolph.

Identification, laboratory testing, and certificates of veterinary inspection are part of Georgia’s health requirements which assist officials in protecting the health of animals in the state and help prevent the introduction of exotic diseases.

Responding to concerns from prior years that vehicles traveling from other parts of the globe can bring pests and invasive plant species and deposit them upon landing, Kringle submitted documentation for the sleigh and reindeer to be treated with a recently discovered natural repellant at the North Pole. All of the elements of the cosmic dust sprinkled on the animals and sleigh can be gathered while in flight in the stratosphere and reapplied as needed along the way. In the trial tests conducted no pests or invasive plants have been able to attach themselves to any animate or inanimate objects.

“This is an amazing horticultural breakthrough to protect us from anything that could be harmful to our Georgia crops,” Irvin said. “However, I have been informed that the repellant properties of the substance are activated only when touched by jolly old elves.”

Commissioner Irvin said that he consulted with State Veterinarian Dr. Carter Black and Dr. James Sutton, assistant commissioner plant industry division, on any dangers posed by the brief visit.

“This visit will not violate any of our biosecurity measures to keep out animal diseases,” Irvin. “As it was explained to me, these reindeer will be moving quickly, will only prance and paw on rooftops and will not intermingle with any livestock in Georgia.”

“Usually, few creatures are stirring that night,” Dr. Black added. “Not even a mouse.”

Dr. Sutton said the documentation on the repellant seems to be in order. “I believe that we should trust that his powers activate the substance’s properties to repel pests and invasive plant species. After all, he is St. Nicholas.”

"We are pleased to grant the temporary waiver to Mr. Kringle,” said Commissioner Irvin. “I and the employees of the Georgia Department of Agriculture wish him safe travels as he and his reindeer make deliveries to the good children of Georgia."

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