US - New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball has announced the end of the ban on all live fowl competitions and exhibits at the Great New York State Fair and at all county fairs in New York.
The Department had issued the ban in May 2015 to prevent the spread of strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which killed millions of birds across the country in 2014-2015 and was confirmed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as being the worst outbreak of HPAI in US history.
“New York took an aggressive approach to preventing the spread of avian influenza and it paid off,” said Commissioner Ball.
“I am very proud to say that thanks to the cooperation of farmers, suppliers, distributors, and live bird markets, as well as the hard work of the Department’s Division of Animal Industry, the outbreak did not affect a single bird in the state and we look forward to their return at fairs this summer.”
“Lifting this ban was possible due to the efforts of the poultry industry, here in New York and throughout the US, to stop the spread of HPAI and to improve biosecurity practices.
"We are indebted to state and federal animal health officials who contained HPAI in the Midwest,” said State Veterinarian Dr David Smith.
“While we are confident the threat has diminished and bird competitions can resume, it’s important to note that the virus causing HPAI may arise any time, so our producers must remain vigilant and continue to adhere to the best practices for preventing the spread of this disease.”
The Great New York State Fair is currently accepting entries for its poultry competitions and exhibits. In 2014, approximately 1,200 poultry and pigeons were brought to the Fair for various competitions and exhibits. The ban has also been lifted for 45 county fairs and six youth shows during the fair season, which runs from June through October.
Andy Imperati, President of the New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs, said: “All of New York State’s fairs wholeheartedly supported the efforts of the Commissioner’s office in taking a proactive approach to the avian flu issue.
"We are all very happy to once again be able to reinstate our live fowl shows and competitions at all of our fairs this summer. We take every effort to make our fairgrounds safe not only for our patrons, but our livestock as well.”ThePoultrySite News Desk