State bans all live bird exhibitions, including fairs

FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2009 file photo, chickens stand in their cages at a farm near Stuart, Iowa. South Dakota has its first case of bird flu at an egg-laying chicken farm that holds 1.3 million of the birds. Dakota Layers says it was told by the state veterinarian Thursday, May 14, 2015, that one of its nine barns tested positive for avian influenza. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2009 file photo, chickens stand in their cages at a farm near Stuart, Iowa. South Dakota has its first case of bird flu at an egg-laying chicken farm that holds 1.3 million of the birds. Dakota Layers says it was told by the state veterinarian Thursday, May 14, 2015, that one of its nine barns tested positive for avian influenza. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – There will be no live bird exhibitions this year at any fairs, bird shows or sales.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture calls it an “aggressive” move to protect Ohio’s $2.3-billion poultry industry from the avian flu.

The ban includes the Ohio State Fair, county fairs, independent fairs and bird sales, auctions and shows.

The bird flu was first confirmed in the United States in late 2014. More than 44 million birds nationwide have contracted the highly contagious disease.  Minnesota and Iowa are two states hit hard by the disease.

“This was a difficult decision because it means young people can’t show their birds at fairs, but it’s in the best interest of an industry that literally thousands of Ohio families and businesses depend on and which provides billions of dollars to our state’s economy,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels.

Ohio is the second largest egg producer in the country with more than 28-million laying chickens.

The Ohio egg business employees nearly 15,000 people.

“One of the ways avian influenza spreads is by direct contact with contaminated materials coming from other infected birds. This means that exhibitions, auctions and swap meets where birds are co-mingling pose a high risk of unintentionally spreading this disease,” said Dr. Tony Forshey, veterinarian.

The egg shortage is affecting prices at the supermarket and some restaurants are having to alter their menus to deal with an egg shortage.

Visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture on line for more information.

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