Biosecurity for Livestock and Poultry Exhibitions
September 22, 2016 - Author: Dan Grooms
Livestock exhibitions are an important part of agriculture in the United States. They provide an opportunity for people to participate in an activity focused on agriculture and the livestock industry. Exhibitions are also an important marketing tool for seedstock producers, providing an opportunity to showcase their animals and to evaluate breeding programs by directly comparing their animals with others. Finally, they provide a way to positively promote agriculture to the general public. Though agricultural exhibitions serve an important function, they also represent a potential threat to the health of individual animals, the herds from which they originate and the industry they represent. In addition, the risk of disease transmission from animals to humans during livestock exhibitions must be considered.
Managers of animal exhibitions should develop plans to reduce the risk of animal-to-animal and animal-to-human disease transmission. To protect the health of all exhibited animals and exhibit attendees, fair management should:
- Provide exhibitors with written health requirements in advance of the animal exhibition
- Request that exhibitors not bring unthrifty animals, even if they are part of an organized project.
- Establish health requirements that meet or exceed all local, state and national animal exhibition requirements.
- Ensure that a veterinarian will be on hand to inspect all arriving animals for symptoms of ill health.
- Ensure that a veterinarian regularly inspects animals and is available to examine livestock that become ill during the exhibition.
- Provide clean and properly disinfected animal housing facilities.
- Provide housing with adequate space and proper ventilation.
- Provide access to clean water.
- Provide manure and waste bedding storage areas remote from animal housing and public traffic areas.
- Provide signs requesting that people who have been in foreign countries in the past 7 days not enter livestock barns.
- Provide signs asking people to wash or disinfect their hands after handling or petting animals.
- Provide hand-washing stations convenient to animal exhibition areas. Signs should be present to make these areas obvious, along with a suggestion to wash hands after petting animals.