Saving Iowa’s Birds: Will a Ban Work?
By Tom Seest
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The Iowa Department of Agriculture has banned live bird shows and exhibitions and has banned sales of live birds at swap meets. This has affected some farmers in the state, but it’s not the end of the world. Grace Hiller raises her birds from eggs and has invested in breeding stock. She’s not giving up, though. She’ll still be showing her sheep, goats, and rabbits.
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The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has canceled all live bird exhibitions until further notice because of an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza. The state’s poultry industry is scrambling to clean up after the disease, which was confirmed in 19 sites in March. The cancellations have also affected the sale of birds at livestock auctions and swap meets.
The suspension of live bird exhibitions and competitions in the state is in place for 30 days. This ban also prohibits the sale of live birds at swap meets, livestock auctions, and exotic sales. The ban will remain in effect until there are no new cases of avian influenza in the state.
While HPAI has affected more than six million birds in the United States, it isn’t considered a major public health threat, primarily because the disease has not spread to humans. Proper handling and cooking of poultry will kill any viruses and bacteria. The USDA also said that poultry products are safe to eat.
However, fairgoers appreciate the unique breeds of birds, and Addy and Brenna plan to exhibit four birds at the fair in August. The two girls also plan to show rabbits, dogs, and horses at the fair, in addition to entering non-animal projects. Their schedule is jam-packed, and they’ll be helping friends and neighbors with their own animals. In addition to the live bird exhibitions, they plan to help other exhibitors with their animals and projects. It would be a shame to miss out on this opportunity.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture has banned live bird exhibitions and sales at Iowa poultry shows, livestock auctions, and swap meets. It also banned live bird sales and exotic bird sales. The order goes into effect immediately and will last for 30 days or until there are no new cases of bird flu in the state. This measure is meant to protect the health and welfare of Iowa’s domestic poultry population.
Because the poultry industry is a major employer of people with limited budgets, this is a serious decision that may affect the state’s economy. But the poultry industry must remain vigilant, as this virus can be passed from one animal to another. Fortunately, the poultry industry has been on super-high alert in the wake of the outbreak in Indiana.
The state agriculture department has advised poultry owners to avoid contact with wild birds, which could be a potential source of disease. Because Iowa is part of the Mississippi Flyway, millions of birds migrate through the state. The Iowa Poultry Association recommends canceling live bird exhibitions to protect the welfare of poultry.
While Iowa has not had a large outbreak of bird flu this year, the state has seen several outbreaks. The first was in western Iowa’s Pottawattamie County, and the most recent one involved 46 birds in Bremer County. In all, Iowa’s poultry industry saw more than 13 million birds euthanized as a result of the virus. Despite the outbreak, Iowa remains the nation’s No. 1 egg-laying hen state. Otterbein said he initially planned to hold a “bird-free” poultry show but changed his plans as bird flu cases declined.
The ban on live bird sales at the Iowa Eastern Iowa Poultry Association Poultrix has caused some confusion among poultry industry participants. The ban affects all poultry products from the ten states, except for those that are fully cooked or heat treated. In addition, it is also affecting poultry meat from Iowa.
The latest outbreaks of avian influenza have been devastating the U.S. poultry industry, which has been plagued by disease and labor shortages. A few countries have banned the sale of poultry products altogether, including China, South Korea, and Canada. This new avian flu outbreak has pushed the industry to tighten biosecurity measures.
A ban on live bird sales at swap meets, livestock auctions, and county fairs is in place in Iowa. It is part of the state’s effort to control the spread of avian influenza. The ban will remain in place until there are no new cases of the disease.
The ban came after the state agriculture department recommended that poultry owners limit contact with wild birds, which are suspected of transmitting the disease to domestic poultry. Iowa is located in the Mississippi Flyway, a major migration route for millions of birds. It was also recommended that swap meets and livestock auctions stop offering live poultry.
The ban was put into effect in June after an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). However, no new cases of HPAI have been detected in Iowa since the outbreak ended. The final quarantine lifted on December 1st, and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship hopes to learn from the experience and prevent future outbreaks.
The state of Tennessee is also taking action. A poultry flock in West Tennessee was recently reported to have been infected with HPAI. The state veterinarian is leading the emergency response. The State Veterinarian has ordered a halt to poultry exhibitions, shows, and poultry sales at swap meets, livestock markets, and flea markets.
Although the ban on live bird sales is in place for a specific geographic area, the ban does not apply to all swap meets. Many of these events are held on a bi-monthly or monthly basis. In fact, they tend to be located in rural areas.
While some states have passed ordinances that regulate swap meets, most states have yet to issue regulations. Many localities have regulated swap meets, including Los Angeles, California. However, most of these ordinances don’t include standards for animal care and disease prevention. In addition, they often fail to regulate the sale of agricultural livestock.
While an animal swap meet ban is politically untenable, it is still necessary to regulate the trade in animals at these events. Despite the laws prohibiting live bird sales, they are often local affairs, so state governments are reluctant to interfere in local issues. And they often have to deal with lobbyists who may work to water down a ban.
Be sure to read our other related stories at BackyardChickenNews to learn more about raising chickens in your backyard.