Risk of avian flu cancels poultry competitions at P.E.I. agricultural exhibits

·1 min read
The poultry competition is a popular event at Old Home Week. (Brian Higgins/CBC - image credit)
The poultry competition is a popular event at Old Home Week. (Brian Higgins/CBC - image credit)

The risk of spreading avian flu has been deemed too high to allow poultry competitions on Prince Edward Island this summer.

The provincial veterinarian has recommended the competitions not be held, and provincial exhibitions are following that recommendation. Avian flu can be a serious threat to domestic poultry, and has been diagnosed in hundreds of wild birds on P.E.I.

"It wasn't a surprise," said Rayanne Frizzell, the administrative director for 4-H P.E.I., of the competition shutdown.

"There is probably some disappointment for those members who would compete at exhibitions."

The birds in some clubs are owned by project leaders, and in those cases local competitions could be possible because the birds are already all housed on the same farm.

In any case, poultry projects will be able to go ahead with 4-H. Competitions are not a required part of the projects.

Sandra Hodder Acorn, an official with Old Home Week, said Old Home Week normally has 400 to 600 birds in competition, and it is disappointing they won't be there.

"The poultry show was a very popular show for young and old alike," said Hodder Acorn.

"They loved to come in and they loved to hear the noise of the poultry and the beautiful displays of them."

While some 4-H members will be disappointed, Frizzell said this is an important lesson.

"It's about being a good steward of the agriculture industry, and that's something we try to teach our members for sure," she said.

More important than any competition, she said, is teaching them to be good community members.

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