John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-394-3790
503-551-7219 (cell)
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The Alpaca Industry in Canada

The Canadian alpaca industry in many ways has paralleled that of its southern neighbor.  Alpacas first arrived in Canada in the 1980's, followed by larger imports beginning around 1992.

The Canadian Alpaca Breeders Association (CABA) was formed early on, and a blood typed (now DNA based) registry was formed.  The Canadian Llama Association, which originally only administered a registry for llamas, created similar registry for alpacas, and in 1996 the association formally changed its name to the Canadian Llama and Alpaca Association (CLAA). The CLAA was also responsible for setting and supervising screening standards governing the admission of imported, non-pedigree alpacas to the registry.

By 1998 the Canadian alpaca industry was experience some of the same problems as that in the United States.  Large numbers of imported animals were seen as a threat to those being produced domestically.  The result was that the CLRC became a closed registry at about the same time as ARI (the U.S. registry).  Early on there was talk about a reciprocity agreement between the two registries, but nearly a decade later no such agreement has been reached.

However, a significant number of alpacas in Canada enjoyed dual registration, appearing in both the CLRC and ARI databases.  Offspring from these animals were eligible for registration in ARI, and many were sold in the United States.  For a number of years an alpaca could only be registered in the CLRC if it had been born in Canada, which prevented alpacas from moving northward into Canada.  This has now been changed, with the result being a psuedo-second registry in the United States.  The U.S. alpaca industry has gone to some length to protect the perception of value associated with ARI registration, although it is not always clear that this is based entirely on facts.

In 2005 the CLAA created two divisions, with Alpaca Canada absorbing CABA and continuing on with its work.  All non-registry issues related to the industry are now coordinated by Alpaca Canada.

Canadian alpacas continue to enjoy relatively free access to markets in the United States.  Except for a brief time during the "Mad Cow Disease" (BSE) scare, the U.S. has not placed significant regulations on the importation of livestock from Canada.  Movement of alpacas from the U.S. to Canada is muc more difficult due to qurantine requirements.

Interestingly, Canada does serve as a way point for U.S. alpacas being exported to Europe and other foriegn countries.

Canada supports many of the same industry components as do U.S. alpaca owners, including a show circuit, a DNA based registry of pedigree, and an alpaca fiber cooperative.

 
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"Upstairs, at the desk, he was handing in the volumes to the young woman whose duty it was to receive them when he was hailed by a brisk little man in an alpaca coat, with a skin like brown parchment..."

Winston Churchill
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