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Animal Health Inspections 3
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Image by agriculturede
Delaware Department of Agriculture Poultry & Animal Health inspector Bob Moore examines goats at a Marydel-area farm on a recent July day.

The inspections are part of a months-long effort to examine every animal headed to the Delaware State Fair to protect animal health.

It’s all the behind-the-scenes work of the Poultry and Animal Health Section to protect the health of every chicken, horse, pony, rabbit, goat, sheep, duck, cow, pig and goat arriving at the fairgrounds. The work begins months in advance and ends only when the last animal heads home from Harrington.

“These inspections at the fair are a vital part of our mission to protect animal health,” said Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee. “This many animals in close proximity means we have to be extra-vigilant in guarding against problems. This would not be possible without the excellent partnership between the Department, the Delaware State Fair and our farming community.”

The Department performs the inspections free of charge, and the inspectors check animals multiple times throughout each day of the fair, which runs July 19-28.

“With thousands of animals from across the state brought together in close quarters for 10 days at the State Fair, we rely pretty heavily on our inspectors to identify any signs of illness quickly,” said Delaware State Veterinarian Dr. Heather Hirst, who heads the Department’s Poultry and Animal Health Section.

“We’re doing this for the animals,” Hirst said. “With all these animals here, a disease outbreak could be a real problem. It’s not as if you’re at home and have two pigs. With 500 pigs under one roof, a single case of contagious disease could be a major threat to the health of all animals involved.”

For years, the Department has conducted inspections of animals arriving at the fair. But for the last decade, staff members have also visited animals and owners in advance at their farms to check for disease and illnesses ahead of the fair.

About 3,500 animals are checked in advance, including about 2,000 sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and cows. Poultry and other bird flocks, as well as rabbits, are examined on the farm as well, with testing of each poultry flock conducted by the University of Delaware’s Lasher Laboratory at the Carvel Research and Education Center, Georgetown.

The sheep, goats, pigs and cows are then re-checked upon arrival at the fair as they are unloaded. Horses are inspected at the gate, and their paperwork for equine infectious anemia and equine herpes virus vaccination proof are approved as well.

The program has decreased the chances that animals and exhibitors will be turned away at the gates, and also has led to positive connections between the state’s animal health inspectors and farmers, said Poultry and Animal Health Inspector Bob Moore, a member of the fair’s board of directors.

“We want to have a relationship where people feel comfortable and know who we are,” Moore said. “We want them to know our inspectors and staff and feel like they can call on us for problems.”

Delaware’s small size and strong local relationships are vital to making these inspections possible here, Hirst said.

Inspectors check the general health of the animals and focus on signs of contagious diseases, most commonly ringworm, warts, foot rot and sore mouth (orf virus infection). Alerting owners in advance makes them aware that these conditions must be cleared up before fair time. “Any animals arriving at the fair with those diseases are automatically rejected,” Hirst said.

Once the fair begins, Department of Agriculture inspectors Moore and Dustin Borntreger are there every day continuing to inspect the animals, often well into the evening hours until the fair closes. Early signs of disease lead to a ticket home.

“Being at a fair is stressful for them – the noise, other animals, movement,” Moore said. “And because everyone is together, if one animal gets sick, it goes right down the line.”

Department of Agriculture inspectors also check the fair’s other animals – those at the petting zoo and pony rides, the circus animals and even the racing pigs.

“The Department of Agriculture is an excellent partner in many aspects of the fair’s operation,” said Delaware State Fair General Manager William J. DiMondi. “We understand the importance of agriculture to the fair and appreciate the many volunteers and agencies that help showcase Delaware's best during the ten days of the fair.”


Animal Health Inspections 3
animals for free
Image by agriculturede
Delaware Department of Agriculture Poultry & Animal Health inspector Bob Moore examines goats at a Marydel-area farm on a recent July day.

The inspections are part of a months-long effort to examine every animal headed to the Delaware State Fair to protect animal health.

It’s all the behind-the-scenes work of the Poultry and Animal Health Section to protect the health of every chicken, horse, pony, rabbit, goat, sheep, duck, cow, pig and goat arriving at the fairgrounds. The work begins months in advance and ends only when the last animal heads home from Harrington.

“These inspections at the fair are a vital part of our mission to protect animal health,” said Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee. “This many animals in close proximity means we have to be extra-vigilant in guarding against problems. This would not be possible without the excellent partnership between the Department, the Delaware State Fair and our farming community.”

The Department performs the inspections free of charge, and the inspectors check animals multiple times throughout each day of the fair, which runs July 19-28.

“With thousands of animals from across the state brought together in close quarters for 10 days at the State Fair, we rely pretty heavily on our inspectors to identify any signs of illness quickly,” said Delaware State Veterinarian Dr. Heather Hirst, who heads the Department’s Poultry and Animal Health Section.

“We’re doing this for the animals,” Hirst said. “With all these animals here, a disease outbreak could be a real problem. It’s not as if you’re at home and have two pigs. With 500 pigs under one roof, a single case of contagious disease could be a major threat to the health of all animals involved.”

For years, the Department has conducted inspections of animals arriving at the fair. But for the last decade, staff members have also visited animals and owners in advance at their farms to check for disease and illnesses ahead of the fair.

About 3,500 animals are checked in advance, including about 2,000 sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and cows. Poultry and other bird flocks, as well as rabbits, are examined on the farm as well, with testing of each poultry flock conducted by the University of Delaware’s Lasher Laboratory at the Carvel Research and Education Center, Georgetown.

The sheep, goats, pigs and cows are then re-checked upon arrival at the fair as they are unloaded. Horses are inspected at the gate, and their paperwork for equine infectious anemia and equine herpes virus vaccination proof are approved as well.

The program has decreased the chances that animals and exhibitors will be turned away at the gates, and also has led to positive connections between the state’s animal health inspectors and farmers, said Poultry and Animal Health Inspector Bob Moore, a member of the fair’s board of directors.

“We want to have a relationship where people feel comfortable and know who we are,” Moore said. “We want them to know our inspectors and staff and feel like they can call on us for problems.”

Delaware’s small size and strong local relationships are vital to making these inspections possible here, Hirst said.

Inspectors check the general health of the animals and focus on signs of contagious diseases, most commonly ringworm, warts, foot rot and sore mouth (orf virus infection). Alerting owners in advance makes them aware that these conditions must be cleared up before fair time. “Any animals arriving at the fair with those diseases are automatically rejected,” Hirst said.

Once the fair begins, Department of Agriculture inspectors Moore and Dustin Borntreger are there every day continuing to inspect the animals, often well into the evening hours until the fair closes. Early signs of disease lead to a ticket home.

“Being at a fair is stressful for them – the noise, other animals, movement,” Moore said. “And because everyone is together, if one animal gets sick, it goes right down the line.”

Department of Agriculture inspectors also check the fair’s other animals – those at the petting zoo and pony rides, the circus animals and even the racing pigs.

“The Department of Agriculture is an excellent partner in many aspects of the fair’s operation,” said Delaware State Fair General Manager William J. DiMondi. “We understand the importance of agriculture to the fair and appreciate the many volunteers and agencies that help showcase Delaware's best during the ten days of the fair.”

 
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