Salinas Valley Fair cancels poultry show

Last year’s Salinas Valley Fair FFA Champion Poultry Meat Pens winner Jahiaira Diaz of Greenfield FFA (center) stands with Miss Salinas Valley Fair 2018 Teagan Soares and auction buyer Mike Hearne. Poultry will not be shown or sold at this year’s fair. (Contributed Photo)

Decision made after bird disease outbreak

SOUTH COUNTY — Due to an outbreak of Virulent Newcastle Disease in California, Salinas Valley Fair officials have canceled poultry shows and exhibits at this year’s event in King City.

The decision was made after a new case of the disease was reported in Alameda County on March 15, and based on the recommendation of Dr. Annette Jones, California state veterinarian and director of Animal Health and Food Safety Services with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), that all poultry shows and poultry exhibitions be canceled throughout the state due to the disease.

Virulent Newcastle Disease is a highly contagious respiratory disease of birds, including chickens, that spreads quickly. According to CDFA, the disease does not affect meat or eggs but is almost always deadly to poultry. Virus particles can spread quickly by direct contact between birds, and people can spread the disease by moving infected birds, moving equipment and feed, and by wearing clothing and shoes that have been in infected areas.

The only way to stop the spread of the virus and eradicate the disease is to euthanize infected birds, and all birds within highly infected areas.

Since May 2018, staff from CDFA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been working in joint incident command to eradicate the disease in Southern California.

Salinas Valley Fair joins numerous California fairs and poultry organizations to cancel shows following recommendations from the state veterinarian.

“The poultry exhibit at the Fair is beloved by exhibitors and guests attending the Salinas Valley Fair,” said John Orradre, chairman of the Salinas Valley Fair Livestock Committee. “We understand the impact this decision will have on the youth in our 4-H and FFA programs. Our decision was not made lightly. Our concern is for animal health and doing our part to help stop the spread of this highly infectious disease. We will work with our poultry volunteers and fair staff to create opportunities that will allow exhibitors to share their knowledge and hard work.”

Salinas Valley Fair is soliciting volunteers and assistance in organizing contests and activities for 4-H and FFA poultry exhibitors. To share ideas or be involved, call the Salinas Valley Fair Livestock Office at 831-385-3521. 

At this time, other livestock events and exhibits are expected to proceed as usual at the 75th Annual Salinas Valley Fair set for May 16-19 at the fairgrounds in King City.

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