Agriculture

Iowa lifts ban on live poultry shows

Announcement marks another milestone in recovery from bird flu

2014 Poultry Princess Eva Dolan places ribbons on entries in the English class during judging for the 4-H/FFA Poultry Show at the Linn County Fair in Central City on Sunday, June 28, 2015. Due to recent outbreaks of avian flu, this year’s judging was done using photographs of the participant’s birds. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
2014 Poultry Princess Eva Dolan places ribbons on entries in the English class during judging for the 4-H/FFA Poultry Show at the Linn County Fair in Central City on Sunday, June 28, 2015. Due to recent outbreaks of avian flu, this year’s judging was done using photographs of the participant’s birds. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Iowa’s ban on bird exhibitions imposed in May as bird flu spread through the state’s turkey and chicken farms will be lifted Friday.

This is “another sign that we continue to recover from this devastating animal health emergency,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said Tuesday in a statement.

The ban, which covered county fairs, the Iowa State Fair and livestock auction markets, was intended to limit the spread of bird flu, which caused the deaths of 31.5 million chickens and turkeys in Iowa.

The ban on live poultry shows forced organizers of the exhibits to get creative.

At last June’s Linn County Fair, for instance, the 4-H held a sort of poultry portrait contest as the main event and added an egg show. But there also was a rubber chicken toss, a crowing contest and photo competitions for ugliest chicken, best-dressed bird and the best selfie, posing with poultry.

Lifting the poultry exhibition ban marks another milestone in the state’s recovery from bird flu.

With no new cases since June and the lifting of the final quarantine Dec. 1, Iowa is now considered free of highly pathogenic bird flu, the agriculture department said.

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