Poultry banned at all Indiana county fairs

FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2005 file photo, turkeys are pictured at a turkey farm near Sauk Centre, Minn. A bird flu strain that’s deadly to poultry has shown up in a commercial turkey flock in South Dakota and a fourth turkey farm in Minnesota, state and federal agencies confirmed Thursday, April 2, 2015, bringing the total number of outbreaks in the Midwest to 9 and leading to the death of 314,000 birds since early March. (AP Photo/Janet Hostetter,File)

FLORA, Ind. (WLFI) — Live birds are banned from all Indiana county fairs and the Indiana State Fair because of the bird flu outbreak.

Barns at the Carroll County Fairgrounds may be sitting empty for now, but will fill up by July. However, the poultry barn will sit empty during this year’s fair.

Carroll County extension educator Andrea Brown said this summer, birds will be banned from all county fairs around the state.

“The Indiana Board of Animal Health determined, with the concerns over Avian Influenza, it was not a good idea to co-mingle them,” said Brown.

Brown said the main goal is to not further spread the bird flu.

John Beale has participated in 4-H for seven years. He says even though he’s disappointed that they are unable to show birds, he knows it is for the best because he wants them to stay healthy.

“I’m kind of disappointed that we can’t show them, but at the same time, I can at least keep them out at my house,” said Beale. “I do it a commercial level. So, at least if they’re staying healthy I can still sell them.”

Brown said the county fair is finding ways to turn the ban into an educational experience. She said they want 4-H members and spectators to understand the situation. Brown said 4-H’ers will still complete their projects by filling out record sheets and have an opportunity to interact with judges.

“We are hoping to have our 4-H’ers bring photos in of the birds they would be exhibiting. So, we can still have some decorations, if you will, in the barn,” said Brown. “It gives the spectators the opportunity to ask questions.”

Brown said there will still be a poultry show at the Carroll County Fair, but it will not include live birds from members.

“We’ll be able to have birds brought in from one farm and use for showmanship,” said Brown. “So those exhibitors will still be able to participate that way.”

Brown said she is not concerned about fair attendance or 4-H participation.

Beale says even though he cannot show his poultry this summer, he still plans on participating next year.

“I’m still going to show all 10 years,” said Beale. “I’m going to show once we can get birds back in here. I’m probably going to keep on raising them.”

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