Michigan cancels poultry shows, including 4-H, for 2015 due to bird flu

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LANSING, Mich. — In deliberation with the Michigan Association for Fairs and Exhibitions, Michigan 4-H leadership and the Michigan Allied Poultry Industry, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill made the decision June 1 to cancel all 2015 poultry and waterfowl exhibitions in Michigan to prevent the commingling of birds from different locations.

This includes, but is not limited to shows, exhibitions, swap meets, petting zoos at fairs, game bird and waterfowl fair displays, and Miracle of Life exhibits.

Includes 4-H

“We know the tremendous amount of time, money and passion the kids and other exhibitors invest into their birds, and the importance of having livestock animals at these events to interact with the public,” said Averill.

“While there are currently no known cases of HPAI in Michigan, commitment to protecting the health of all of the state’s poultry flocks — backyard and commercial farmers — led us to making this difficult decision.”

The ag department has been working in conjunction with the Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, Michigan State University Extension, 4-H programs, and others to identify ways to engage Michigan’s youth poultry exhibitors and allow them to still have the experience.

Related: Bird flu threatens fair season

Ohio cancels all poultry shows

County fairs and local exhibitors are encouraged to go to the MSU Extension website — msue.msu.edu/poultryshows — to get a list of options for poultry exhibitors. Those options include suggestions for showmanship, breed classes, market classes and auctions.

Reporting reminder

Michigan residents who notice the death loss of three or more birds should report it to DNR at 517-336-5030. If your backyard poultry flock has a high death loss or consistent pattern of death loss in a short period of time, report it to MDARD at 800-292-3939; (after hours emergencies) 517-373-0440.

For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/aviandiseases.

Since December 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture has confirmed  cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi flyways (or migratory bird paths). To date, more than 44.6 million birds have been depopulated from flocks that have been infected.

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