Fair poultry show cancelled

A virus has become a problem among poultry shows in California. Newcastle Disease is a virus that affects birds and has a high mortality rate, especially among chickens. It can also affect other poultry breeds from turkeys to pheasants.

The disease has been confirmed in several Southern California counties, as well as Utah, but was mostly confined to those regions. For this reason, the California Department of Food and Agriculture had cancelled poultry shows in those California counties, but only recommended cancellations in the rest of the state.

Recently an infected chicken was identified in Alameda County, prompting State Veterinarian Annette Jones to recommend cancellation of all poultry exhibitions in California.

While still not required, the Plumas-Sierra County Fair has decided to accept the recommendation and cancel its poultry show at this year’s Fair, Aug. 14 through 18.

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“We want to give exhibitors enough warning before they make investments in time and money,” said Fair Manager John Steffanic. “It would appear this situation is not going away anytime soon.”

Plumas County Agriculture Director Tim Gibson supports the state veterinarian and notes that the first case of the virus was identified last May, and officials still seem to be having a challenge getting a handle on it.

He assures the public that there have been no cases of the disease in Plumas or Sierra counties, but the prudent course of action is to eliminate as much bird-to-bird contact as possible.

Fair and county agriculture department staff say they will continue to monitor the situation and will inform the public as important information becomes available.