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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 11:26 am 
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Minnesota Cancels Bird Shows At State Fair

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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 11:26 am 
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May 15, 10:35 AM EDT

MINNESOTA STATE FAIR CANCELS POULTRY SHOWS DUE TO BIRD FLU

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- All poultry shows have been canceled at the Minnesota State Fair and county fairs across the state this year as authorities try to stop the spread of bird flu, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced Friday.

The board has also prohibited birds from being included in swap meets, exotic animal sales and petting zoos.

"We need to do everything possible to get rid of this virus and preventing the commingling of birds from different farms is one way to do that," Dr. Beth Thompson, the board's assistant director, said in a statement.

As of Thursday, 87 Minnesota turkey and chicken farms had been affected by confirmed or presumed outbreaks of the H5N2 avian influenza virus, which has cost the state's producers around 5.8 million birds.

"This is a critical time for Minnesota's poultry industry, and we'll do whatever it takes to help. ... We'll use this as an opportunity to further educate people about the challenges of food production," State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer said in the statement.

Brad Rugg, who runs 4-H programs for University of Minnesota Extension, said young people will be disappointed that they won't be able to show their poultry projects at fairs this summer, but that 4-H will explore alternate learning opportunities.

"Part of our job developing the next generation of agriculture leaders includes teaching youth best practices to ensure the health and safety of the animals they raise, and this is that learning being put into action in the real world," Rugg said.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ ... 5-09-58-43

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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 11:39 am 
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CONTACT:
Bethany Hahn, Minn. Board of Animal Health 651-201-6830
animalhealth@state.mn.us
Brienna Schuette, Minn. State Fair 651-288-4321
media@mnstatefair.org
Wendy Huckaby, U of M Extension 651-239-7554
huckaby@umn.edu
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2015
Exhibitions of Birds Cancelled for 2015 Season
Fairs, swap meets, exotic sales and petting zoos will not include birds
​ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Board of Animal Health today announced its directive to cancel all bird exhibitions at county fairs, the State Fair, and other gatherings of birds. The Board’s directive is effective through the end of 2015 and also prohibits birds from being included in swap meets, exotic sales, and petting zoos.

Since March 5, 2015, nearly 90 Minnesota farms have been impacted by H5N2 highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The purpose of the Board’s directive is to minimize the risk of potential further spread of the virus. The risk to the public related to H5N2 HPAI is very low and there is no food safety concern.

“Taking this step makes sense,” said Dr. Beth Thompson, assistant director of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. “We need to do everything possible to get rid of this virus and preventing the commingling of birds from different farms is one way to do that.”

Animal health officials met with leadership of the Minnesota State Fair and University of Minnesota Extension earlier this week to discuss the situation.

“This is a critical time for Minnesota’s poultry industry, and we’ll do whatever it takes to help,” said State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer. “The Board of Animal Health has absolutely made the right decision. We’ll use this as an opportunity to further educate people about the challenges of food production.”

“University of Minnesota Extension 4-H's priority is youth and their learning experiences," said Brad Rugg, Extension 4-H and State Fair and Animal Science program director. "Some 4-H'ers will be disappointed that they won't be able to show their poultry projects at fairs this summer, but we're exploring alternate learning opportunities to offer them at fairs and will share more details as plans develop. Part of our job developing the next generation of agriculture leaders includes teaching youth best practices to ensure the health and safety of the animals they raise, and this is that learning being put into action in the real world."

Minnesota’s poultry industry has experienced the largest impact as a result of HPAI. Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota said, "We know the decision to halt poultry exhibitions at our county fairs and the Minnesota State Fair was not an easy one to make. This certainly affects the 4-H kids who plan for their projects all year long, and also means fewer opportunities for fairgoers across the state to learn about raising poultry. However, this is the right decision because what's most important at this point is protecting the health and well-being of the birds that are being raised by 4-H’ers, FFA members, and Minnesota’s poultry farmers."

Representatives from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, Minnesota State Fair, Minnesota 4-H and Minnesota Turkey Growers Association will provide statements and answer questions pertaining to the 2015 bird exhibition decision.

What:
Media availability

Who:
Dr. Beth Thompson, Assistant Director, Minnesota Board of Animal Health
Jerry Hammer, General Manager, Minnesota State Fair
Brad Rugg, University of Minnesota Extension 4-H State Fair and Animal Science Program Director
Steve Olson, Executive Director, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota

When:
Friday, May 15, 2015 at 10:45 a.m. CST

Where:
Minnesota State Fairgrounds, Administration Building
1292 Cosgrove Street, St. Paul, MN

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health is the lead animal disease response agency in the state and is working with other state and federal agencies and the poultry industry to eradicate HPAI.

Visit mnairesponse.info for the most up-to-date information on Minnesota’s response to HPAI.

For information on livestock exhibition requirements in Minnesota, visit bah.state.mn.us/exhibitions.

https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ooc/news-r ... eason.aspx

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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 7:30 pm 
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Minnesota reports more H5N2 as fairs plan poultry bans
Filed Under: Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
Robert Roos | News Editor | CIDRAP News | May 15, 2015

Minnesota reported today that yet another turkey farm has fallen prey to the H5N2 avian flu virus, as the widespread outbreaks start taking a toll on plans for state and county fairs this summer in the Midwest.

Minnesota officials said the state's top turkey-raising county and the one hit hardest by the virus, Kandiyohi, has its 33rd H5N2 outbreak. The size of the flock was not yet determined, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) said in a news release.

The event raises the number of affected farms in Minnesota to 88 in 21 counties, the agency said. The tally of birds lost to the virus or to resulting culling of flocks is estimated at 5.76 million, but that doesn't include some farms for which bird counts are not yet available.

In related developments, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH) announced today that it is canceling all bird exhibitions at the Minnesota State Fair, county fairs, and other settings for the rest of this year in an effort to choke off the spread of H5N2. The board said the ban also covers swap meets, exotic sales, and petting zoos.

"Taking this step makes sense," said Beth Thompson, DVM, MBAH assistant director, in the board's statement. "We need to do everything possible to get rid of this virus, and preventing the commingling of birds from different farms is one way to do that."

Also today, the Ohio Department of Agriculture said poultry from any states where H5 avian flu is circulating will be banned from the Ohio State Fair, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The department said too that the fair's poultry show may be canceled outright if the avian flu situation worsens, noted the story.

In addition, Ohio officials are encouraging all county and independent fairs to ban poultry from states that have avian flu outbreaks, the AP reported.

See also:

May 15 Minnesota DPS update

Minnesota State Fair and MBAH notice

May 15 AP report on Ohio fair ban

http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspect ... ultry-bans

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