Home Rockingham County Fair lifts ban on live bird exhibits

Rockingham County Fair lifts ban on live bird exhibits


rockingham fairOfficials with the Rockingham County Fair Association have rescinded the year-long ban on live bird exhibits at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds. The ban was implemented in the spring of 2015 due to a serious outbreak of avian influenza that posed a potential threat to bird health and the Virginia poultry industry.

“We look forward to having turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese and other fowl return to the Rockingham County Fair this year,” said Fair Association General Manager Jeff Ishee. “The live bird exhibits are always one of the most popular attractions during the annual county fair.”

In the spring of 2015, an outbreak of H5 Highly pathogenic avian influenza was confirmed in more than twenty states and caused the loss of more than 48 million chickens and turkeys. Poultry industry officials described the outbreak as “catastrophic.” The USDA categorized the incident as the largest animal health emergency in U.S. history.

Throughout its history, Rockingham County Fair livestock and poultry activities have been modified, restricted, and even canceled for animal health reasons. The recent ban on live bird exhibits applied not only for the 2015 Fair, but included all non-Fair activities at the fairgrounds. Rabbits were not impacted since there was no health threat.

The Rockingham County Fair works closely on animal health issues with a variety of agencies and veterinary experts. “Everyone we’ve talked to advised the ban could safely be lifted at this time,” said Ishee. “We are, however, continuously monitoring the situation and, if necessary, could reinstate the ban as a precautionary measure if further cases of avian flu are detected in our region.”

For the 2016 Fair, the Virginia Poultry Industry Center will continue to feature interactive displays and presentations about Virginia’s poultry industry and its important contribution to the state’s economy.



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