The Indiana State Fair kicks off on Friday, but 4-H livestock are already moving in. There are new biosecurity and check-in procedures to keep both animals and people safe. Swine influenza has been an issue at a few county fairs this year, and State Veterinarian Dr. Bret Marsh says special precautions are being taken this year to keep the swine barn safe at the State Fair, “This year at the Fair we are taking the temperature of each of the 4-H pigs; and we have a new process which involves taking a gauze pad and wiping the snout of each of the pigs.” Marsh explained that these would them be tested for the presence of the influenza virus. This year the tests of the samples will not be run until after the Fair, but Marsh said they hope to determine of this is an effective test that can be used in the future, “We are trying to determine if we can use this process to learn more about the influenza virus at exhibitions.”
In addition to the new biosecurity requirements, new tag regulations are being enforced which has slowed down the check-in process, “We have 840 electronic ID’s that are required for each of the pigs this year.” This in addition to the other new check in procedures was slowing down the check in process Thursday afternoon when HAT talked with Marsh. The check in process is expected to continue through Friday afternoon.
Keeping the pigs safe is just part of the equation. It is important to keep the public safe as well, stressed Marsh. There are plenty of hand washing stations around the barns, and Dr. Marsh urges the public to use them, along with a liberal dose of common sense, “We are urging people not to eat or bring food into the barns and, if they have small children in strollers, we ask you not to bring pacifiers in strollers.” He said these can fall out and become contaminated with bedding and manure. These biosecurity precautions have been an ongoing precaution recommended by the Board of Animal Health, the State Health Department, and the Indiana State Fair.
Coverage of the ISF begins Friday here at hoosieragtoday.com.