All poultry shows have been canceled at the Minnesota State Fair and county fairs across the state this year as authorities try to stop the spread of bird flu. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health is also prohibiting birds from being included in swap meets, exotic animal sales and petting zoos.
The summer fair season has arrived and in the next few weeks, children from around state will bring their livestock to 4-H competitions. Last year, there was concern that the dry weather would have an impact on the size and turnout of livestock during this year’s fair season.
Some kids in the 4-H program and the FFA are showing up to the county fairs with smaller animals than years past due to the record breaking temperatures in July. Philip Clark, whose family has won ribbons in the swine competition Carver County Fair, can attest to the fact that the blue ribbon is a badge of honor.
Government health leaders have a message for people planning to visit a county or state fair: be careful if you pet the pigs. The Centers for Disease Control says it’s seeing a big jump in swine flu cases. Most are in children who’ve recently been to a fair.