As the avian flu crisis continues throughout the poultry raising community, Iowa is the latest in a growing number of states to ban birds at fairs, livestock auctions, swap meets and exotic sales. The state joins several others, including North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and New York, to cancel all live bird exhibitions. This news release from the Iowa Department of Agriculture says the ban is immediate and lasts through the end of this year.
Iowa has over 25 million birds and more than 60 farms impacted by H5N2 highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The purpose of the Department’s directive is to minimize the risk of potential further spread of the virus to other poultry. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health consider the risk to the public related to HPAI H5 infections to be very low. No human infections of the virus have ever been detected and there is no food safety risk for consumers.
“We are asking producers and bird owners to increase their biosecurity measures and we feel this is a needed step to further minimize the risk of spreading the virus,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “The scale of this outbreak has been unprecedented, so we think it is important we take every possible step to limit the chance that this disease will spread any further.”
Department officials are working with state fair and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach officials to address the issue.