Avian flu means no poultry exhibits at Kane County Fair

  • An emergency rule from Illinois Department of Agriculture prohibits the sale or exhibiting of poultry and poultry products at swap meets, exhibitions, flea markets and auction markets.

      An emergency rule from Illinois Department of Agriculture prohibits the sale or exhibiting of poultry and poultry products at swap meets, exhibitions, flea markets and auction markets. John Starks | Staff Photographer, 2017

 
 
Updated 7/15/2022 1:15 PM

Those browsing the 4-H exhibits at the Kane County Fair in St. Charles this week might notice there aren't any chickens or roosters.

Earlier this year, the Illinois Department of Agriculture put into effect an emergency rule that prohibits the sale or exhibiting of poultry and poultry products at swap meets, exhibitions, flea markets and auction markets in Illinois to prevent the spread of avian influenza. Avian flu has led to the deaths of more than 40 million chickens and turkeys and has contributed to a spike in egg and meat prices.

 

Even though the poultry cannot physically be exhibited at the fair, 4-H members can exhibit the chickens and roosters they have raised in a virtual format.

"They are able to record videos and put together still shots so that we can go ahead and have an exhibition for them," said Andrea Farrier, who serves as the 4-H youth development program coordinator in Kane County. "There will still be a judging process, and awards will still be provided if warranted. Their exhibition opportunity is still there. It just looks a little bit different."

As a result of the pandemic, exhibiting virtually is nothing new for Kane County 4-H members, she noted.

"They were able to use skills they've learned over the last couple of years and apply it to this year's situation," Farrier said. "Some of the exhibits are up on a screen for people to view as they visit the livestock area."

While she said the 4-H members who raise poultry are disappointed in not being able to show the animals at the Kane County Fair, "they truly believe in keeping their animals safe, and biosecurity is of the upmost importance to our 4-H families."

"They understand, and they actually value the decision to do a virtual exhibition opportunity rather than putting their animals at risk," Farrier said.

The Kane County Fair will continue through Sunday. More information about the fair is available at kanecountyfair.com.

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