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State Bans Poultry Shows At County And State Fairs
Updated May 28, 2015 6:16 PM | Filed under: Agriculture
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(UNDATED) - The Indiana State Board of Public Health has banned all bird movements in the state to prevent the potential exposure to the H5 avian flu virus.

This includes shows, exhibitions and public sales (such as flea markets, swap meets, sale barns). This prohibition will stand until further notice, likely through the end of 2015. The action does not apply to private sales between individuals.

"This was not a decision made lightly," said Indiana State Veterinarian Bret D. Marsh, DVM. "The spread of the H5 viruses has been unprecedented, and our goal is to protect the health of small, backyard poultry flocks as much as our commercial industry from this disease."

Locally, this has cancelled the poultry show at the Lawrence County 4-H Fair, because of fears of a threat to local flocks.

"We will not be able to host the 4-H Poultry Show in the traditional sense this year," says Lesley Lodmell. "We will not be allowed to bring live birds to the fairgrounds for exhibition. This does not mean you will not be able to complete the poultry project or learn a great deal from it. This news is fresh today, so the Poultry Committee has not been able to discuss how to best exhibit the poultry project at the fair this year. We will be sending out more information in the coming weeks as those discussions take place. If you have an ideas of how you would like to exhibit what you have learned this year, we would love for you to pass them on to us."

Aside from the Poultry show, Lodmell says they realize this will impact other activities, such as the livestock auction.

"I have spoken with a Fair Board representative, and we will work through this situation," Lodmell added. "4-Hers should stay posted for more information to come."

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), while deadly to domestic poultry, does not present a food safety threat. Further, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has stated the virus poses little risk to human health.

Sixteen states, primarily in the Upper Midwest, have had diagnosed cases of HPAI, resulting in the deaths of more than 40 million birds. Indiana had a single, backyard flock diagnosed earlier this month.

Dr. Indiana State Veterinarian Bret D. Marsh, DVM explained that BOAH plans to open a public comment opportunity in June to receive input from poultry owners and others about strategies to reopen public shows and sales. "We are looking for ways to restore our public bird events in a way that will reduce or eliminate opportunities for disease to spread and threaten backyard flocks statewide.

Poultry owners who notice illness in their birds consistent with avian influenza are encouraged to call the Healthy Birds Hotline at (866) 536-7593 to speak with a state or federal veterinarian.

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