Live poultry shows return to New York after threat of bird flu recedes

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ALBANY – The temporary ban on live poultry shows and other agricultural events has been lifted in advance of fair season in New York.  The first ban had been set in March as a result the spread of avian influenza (bird flu) spread across the country.

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball announced the end of the bans on live poultry shows, exhibitions, auctions, sales, meets, and swaps in New York State. The highly pathogenic avian influenza caused the ban and had been detected in poultry in New York.

As the state enters agricultural fair season, phylogenetic studies have shown that the majority of flocks affected in the current outbreak were infected by introductions from wild birds, rather than by farm-to-farm transmission, lending additional confidence to the decision to allow the commingling of poultry again.

Commissioner Ball said, “New York has taken an aggressive approach to slowing the spread of avian influenza and it has paid off. With cases decreasing in our state and throughout the country, as well as new data showing very low rates of farm-to-farm transmission of HPAI during the current outbreak, I am confident that it is time to lift the bans on live poultry shows and sales. I thank all of our farmers, suppliers, distributors, and live bird markets for employing excellent biosecurity practices as we continue to monitor the HPAI situation closely, and I commend the Department’s Division of Animal Industry staff, who have worked so hard to keep the cases here in New York State under control.”

To date, eight flocks in New York have tested positive for HPAI, with the last detection in a Fulton County flock on April 6. The Department continues to work closely with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on a joint incident response and is also collaborating with partners at the Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation. Additionally, Department officials are conducting extensive outreach to poultry and egg farms across the state to ensure best practices are being implemented.

Commercial and hobby poultry farmers should continue practicing good biosecurity measures to help prevent the spread of the disease. The Department encourages all poultry producers, from small backyard to large commercial operations, to review their biosecurity plans and take precautions to protect their birds. Poultry biosecurity materials and checklists can be found on the USDA’s “Defend the Flock” website.