Home Rockingham County Fair cancels all live poultry exhibits for 2015 Fair

Rockingham County Fair cancels all live poultry exhibits for 2015 Fair

rockingham fairThe Rockingham County Fair Association announced Wednesday that it has canceled all live poultry exhibits for the 2015 County Fair. The action is a direct response to the current outbreak of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza across the nation. As of May 26, the outbreak had been confirmed in more than a dozen states and caused the loss of more than 40 million chickens and turkeys. Poultry industry officials describe the outbreak as “catastrophic” and at least four governors have declared a state of emergency in their respective states.

The cancellation of live bird exhibits at the Rockingham County Fair is being commended by the Virginia Poultry Federation. “We know some people will be disappointed,” said Hobey Bauhan, President of the Virginia Poultry Federation. “We appreciate, however, the Fair Association’s concern for the wellbeing of an industry that supports the livelihoods of thousands of people and contributes substantially to the economy of the Shenandoah Valley.”

Throughout its history, Rockingham County Fair livestock and poultry activities have been modified, restricted, and even canceled for animal health reasons. The most recent occurrence was in 2002 when an outbreak of Avian Influenza in Virginia and West Virginia devastated the poultry industry. The current cancellation applies to the exhibit of any live fowl or eggs. The prohibition also applies to all non-Fair activities at the fairgrounds until further notice. Rabbits will continue to be displayed at the normal location. The Bridgewater 4-H Petting Zoo will operate normally with the exception of no live birds.

Poultry enthusiasts involved with the Fair say this is a precautionary measure.  “There is no danger to Valley poultry at this time, but better safe than sorry,” said Verne Leininger, co-chair of the Fair Poultry, Rabbit and Pigeon Department.

The Rockingham County Fair is working closely on the issue with a variety of agencies and veterinary experts. “Everyone we’ve talked to advises precaution should be the primary focus at this time,” said Fair General Manager Jeff Ishee. “We are one of the leading agricultural Fairs in the nation and we look forward to the time when we can bring back live bird exhibits during the annual County Fair. The poultry and waterfowl exhibits are always a highlight for fairgoers.”

For the 2015 Fair, the Virginia Poultry Industry Center will feature interactive displays and presentations about Virginia’s poultry industry and its important contribution to the state’s economy.



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