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States’ animal health officials vigilant against illness at fairs



INDIANOPOLIS, Ind. — With livestock diseases becoming more prominent in recent years, states’ animal health officials are still taking the necessary precautions to help keep their state and county fairs safe from further spread, with no significant changes made in protocol this summer.

That’s the consensus of state animal health officials from Iowa to Kentucky and Tennessee.

“Indiana does not have any changes to exhibition requirements for 2018,” Denise Derrer, public information director for the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH), explained. “We still require premises registration for all farms with cattle, swine, sheep, goats and farmed cervids. Equine and poultry site registration is welcomed, but voluntary (unless a show venue requires it).”

The 2018 Animal Health Requirements for Exhibition of Domestic Animals in Indiana states: “Any animal that develops or shows signs of any infectious or communicable disease during exhibition must be removed from the premises, including the surrounding exhibition grounds.

“An owner who is disputing the exclusion of his/her animal(s) from exhibition may not exhibit the animal in question, pending any appeal.”

Moreover, Indiana State 4-H imposes vaccination requirements for dog and cat show participants beyond the requirements of the BOAH minimums. “Check with your local 4-H Purdue (University) extension educator for those requirements,” the rules say.

According to the livestock exhibition rules across the board in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, every exhibitor participating in all of their respective fairs must present a certificate of veterinary inspection – without exception.

For example, similar to the other states, the certificate of veterinary inspection in Iowa states “the animals, poultry or birds are apparently free from symptoms of infectious or communicable diseases as determined on clinical inspection by an accredited veterinarian within 30 days (14 days for sheep) prior to date of entry to exhibition grounds.”

In addition, any evidence of warts, ringworm, foot rot, pink eye, draining abscesses or any other contagious disease will eliminate animals from all exhibitions and shows.

Illinois State Veterinarians Mark Ernst, DVM, said there were no specific changes for the state’s livestock exhibition rules this summer. However, according to 2018 Illinois Exhibition Health Requirements: “Any Illinois cattle, bison, cervidae or goats being exhibited in non-accredited-free states must be isolated from the remainder of the herd/flock upon return to Illinois and retested for tuberculosis 60-120 days post-entry.”

In addition: “Upon entry to the Illinois State Fairgrounds, no person shall administer internally or externally any medication or drug, including prescription and non-prescription, unless prior written authorization is received from the state veterinarian’s office.”

Mindy Williamson, marketing director for the Iowa State Fair, which runs Aug. 9-19 this year, told Farm World there are two notable changes to that fair’s rules.

“The FFA Derby Swine Show has changed to a Carcass Value contest,” she said. “The other change is also in the swine department. In an effort to promote animal welfare, the Iowa State Fair has implemented the declared weight system at all Iowa State Fair Swine Shows.” In addition, hogs cannot stay on the fairgrounds for more than 72 hours.

Moreover, Williamson said any changes at the county fair level are handled by the county fairs. “Each county fair board adopts their own rules. There is not an overall governing agency of county fair rules, but many counties do choose to follow the Iowa State Fair rules closely when they are applicable.”

She said State Veterinarian David Schmitt, DVM, provides “a document for health requirements that must be followed by any livestock exhibition in the state of Iowa.”

According to Iowa’s 2018 Health Requirements for the Exhibition of Livestock, Poultry and Birds at State Fair, District Shows and Exhibitions, goats originating from outside Iowa exhibiting at a state or district show and returning to the premises of origin are exempt from testing requirements if the certificate of veterinary inspection meets all general and identification requirements, and has the following statement written on the certificate by the licensed accredited veterinarian: “The goat(s) listed are for exhibition only and not for resale.”

In addition, Iowa’s livestock exhibition rules say poultry purchased from a hatchery and raised for exhibition are not exempt from Pullorum-Typhoid testing requirements.

In Ohio, State Veterinarian Tony Forshey, DVM, explained, “The state doesn’t have any new rules, with the exception of the Ohio Quality Assurance program, which must be completed by exhibitors at least 45 days prior to the opening of the fair. The certificate states the animals, poultry or birds are apparently free from symptoms.

“We ask our fair exhibitors to follow the recommendations in the document Measure to Minimize Influenza Transmission at Swine Exhibitions, 2018, that was developed by the National Assembly of State Health Officials and the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians.”

Although Tennessee has made no significant changes in its rules for fairs this summer, Charles Hatcher, DVM, state veterinarian, told Farm World, “We added avian influenza (AI) testing for out-of-state birds a while back.”

If highly pathogenic AI is detected in Tennessee or a neighboring state, he said, “the commingling of poultry at fairs and exhibitions may be suspended.”

State Veterinarian Robert Stout, DVM, in Kentucky, and Jennifer Holton, director of communications at the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, said there will be no changes to livestock exhibition rules in their states.