Department of Agriculture: Director David Daniels and State Veterinarian Tony Forshey on Thursday announced the lifting of a ban on bird shows prompted by concerns over spreading avian flu, or Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. The order, which impacted the Ohio State Fair and dozens of county fairs across the state, was issued June 2 in the wake of a national outbreak and was originally to remain in place until April 2016.
"Ohio is home to more than 50 million domestic birds which makes our state particularly vulnerable to an outbreak. Thankfully, the disease never took hold here," Director Daniels said in a statement. "I believe this is a justification of the steps taken by our producers and exhibitors to mitigate the risk of an outbreak."
There were no confirmed cases of the disease in Ohio even though more than 48 million birds nationally were affected nationally last year, ODA reported. On November 18, the World Organization for Animal Health issued a final report on the outbreaks, deemed them resolved and declared the U.S. to be free of avian influenza for the time being.
"I would like to extend a sincere thank you to OSU Extension and the youth exhibitors for their understanding and to their advisors for turning this unfortunate outbreak into an important educational moment," Mr. Daniels said.
Ohio is the second largest egg producer in the country and home to 28 million laying chickens, 12 million broilers, 8.5 million pullets and 2 million turkeys, ODA said. The Ohio's egg, chicken and turkey farms create more than 14,600 jobs and contribute $2.3 billion to the state's economy.