Poultry not welcome at this year’s fair

State bans birds at all county fairs, state fair due to avian flu

Staff report
The 2015  Greene County Fair will be birdless thanks to the outbreak of avian flu in Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship on Thursday announced an order to cancel all live bird exhibitions at county fairs, the Iowa State Fair and other gatherings due to avian influenza.

The department’s order is effective through the end of 2015, and also prohibits live birds from being sold at livestock auctions.

The Greene County Fair is set to open July 7.

More than 25 million birds  in Iowa at more than 60 farms have been impacted by avian influenza, the state reported Thursday.

On Wednesday, the disease crept closer to Greene County with the report of a probable case at a turkey farm in neighboring Calhoun County.

The Centers for Disease Control considers the risk to the public to be low. No human infections of the virus have been detected.

“We are asking producers and bird owners to increase their biosecurity measures and we feel this is a needed step to further minimize the risk of spreading the virus,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said in a statement.  “The scale of this outbreak has been unprecedented, so we think it is important we take every possible step to limit the chance that this disease will spread any further.”

Iowa leads the nation in egg production and is in the top 10 in turkey production.

The Iowa Turkey Federation and Iowa Poultry Association both recommended that bird exhibitions be canceled this year due to avian influenza.  

“Some 4-H’ers will be disappointed that they won’t be able to exhibit their poultry projects at fairs this summer,” said Mike Anderson, Extension 4-H State Livestock Specialist and State Fair 4-H Livestock Superintendent, “but we’re exploring alternate learning opportunities to offer them at fairs and will share more details as plans develop.

“This is a great example to the public, fair-goers and the consumer that the animal health, animal well-being and the safety of the poultry industry is at the forefront of our young people’s practices.”

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