This spring’s devastating effect is still felt throughout the U.S., so state fairs are taking measures against the bird flu before the migration season starts again, and the threat of the avian disease will be looming across the country. Preventive solutions are being set in place before anything could happen.
Scientists have estimated that the death of the 48 million turkeys and chickens across the United States has been due to the wild birds flying north to nesting grounds, and spreading the H5N2 virus through chicken farms.
This time around, the population and officials are better prepared, and know the possibility of it becoming a major issue again. Ranging from the South to the Midwest where the problem was the worst, state fairs will now be setting down new regulations that would limit their exhibitions, sales or even entirely prohibit certain types of birds to be displayed.
The Mississippi State Fair, for example, has added bird flu test as a requirement for the open poultry show, with photo boards, accurate record books, and the limitation of one bird per contestant, according to veterinarian Jim Watson. With the state being number 5 broiler producer in the United States, they want to make sure they protect such a huge industry from disaster.
The North California State Fair, on the other hand, will not allow squawkers, cluckers or quackers, and will instead hold only poultry-related competitions, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Kendrick. In order to compensate, they will also include a quiz bowl, and FFA events for building sanitary chicken coops with anti-contamination features that further seek to keep the bird flu away.
The outbreak has ended in the Midwest, but according to Brian McCluskey, an analysis director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) it’s “very difficult to predict what happened in the breeding grounds over the summer”, where the virus might be lurking or outbreak next. So, they’re taking preventing measures and preparing for the worst.
Georgia and Alabama though, are not restricting state fair exhibitions at all, even if they’re the top two broiler producers in the United States. However, they recommend caution and keeping birds indoors to avoid contact with their wild counterparts.
Other states have adopted restriction policies for their state fairs. South Carolina will only allow the exhibition of doves and pigeons, who have proved themselves highly resistant to the avian virus.
Virginia will pose check-in points where the birds will be carefully examined, and they require their owners to keep them quarantined for 2 weeks before returning them home.
Arkansas will require all poultry at their state fair to receive a clean bill of health, while others such as Minnesota has cancelled all poultry shows during the summer. These measures are necessary to avoid another possible outbreak and hopefully not relive the same experience as the nation did last spring.
Image source: inforum.com