On May 11, 2015, due to increasing threats regarding the spread of avian influenza, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding issued a press release announcing that the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture was “suspending all avian competitions at state-approved agricultural fairs in 2015, as well as the 2016 Pennsylvania Farm Show.”
According to Secretary Redding, since December 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture has reported that 145 flocks of U.S. birds have tested positive for avian influenza. As a result, 15 million birds have either been killed by the disease or been euthanized by producers. By suspending avian competitions at agricultural fairs, the secretary seeks “to take proactive steps to reduce the risks of avian influenza spreading.”
In a separate letter sent to the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs, Secretary Redding, in addition to announcing his ruling regarding state approved agricultural fairs and the Pennsylvania Farm Show, requested “that all additional open poultry shows, fairs and expositions in the state also refrain from avian activity in all forms, while the virus is spreading throughout the nation.”Relatedly, on May 13, 2015, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts signed a state of emergency after a string of recent avian influenza outbreaks at Nebraska poultry facilities. At this time, it has been reported that 4 million chickens, located on three different Nebraska farms, have tested positive for avian influenza.
Written by M. Sean High - Staff Attorney
May 26, 2015