Livestock progress shows and county fair season has begun. Exhibitors have spent hours training, grooming and feeding their prize animals. And while everyone aspires to bring home that grand champion trophy or belt buckle, no one wants to leave the show carrying a zoonotic disease.
The ABC’s of Biosecurity at Livestock Shows
A—Avoid contact with other animals, exhibitors, and their equipment
B—Be aware of the signs and symptoms of illness
C—Clean and disinfect all equipment
Biosecurity is just as important to the show season as genetic selection and feed quality. Simple biosecurity measures can help protect your show animals and herd or flock left home from contracting illness. Most zoonotic diseases do not present danger to human health, but humans can transmit disease on clothing, footwear, supplies and vehicles, according to the Nebraska Extension NebGuideG1694.
Regardless of whether you show horses, beef, dairy, sheep, goats, swine, rabbit, poultry or any other animal, biosecurity is crucial. The Mississippi State University Extension offers tips on how to reduce the risk of exposing your animals or farm before, during and after an event by following these guidelines:
• Maintain a good herd health program, including vaccination and parasite (internal and external) control, as directed by your veterinarian.
• Update health certificates and obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspect (CVI) as required for the event.
• If transporting animals from other locations, arrange an off-site pick up and drop off point to avoid multiple vehicles from entering your premise. Be aware of the health and vaccination status of all animals to be transported with yours.
• Limit commingling of animals during transportation.
• Leave companion animals and pets at home.
• Ensure your animals are healthy prior to departure. Do not exhibit any animal with clinical symptoms of disease.
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• Bring all health papers, including health certificates, vaccination records and test results.
• Keep all feed, forage, water and feeding equipment free of manure to avoid contamination. Cover unused feed and forage.
• Do not share equipment with other exhibitors unless it has been cleaned and disinfected between uses.
• Avoid contacting other animals or entering their pens.
• Wash hands and shoes frequently.
• Properly dispose of used bedding and uneaten, stale feed.
• Monitor your animals closely for illness and immediately report suspicious symptoms.
• Properly dispose of all unused feed, forage and bedding at the event site or appropriate off-site location. Do not take any home.
• Clean and disinfect all equipment at the event facility.
• Isolate show animals from other animals for a minimum of 14 days and ideally 30 days.
• Feed isolated animals after the other animals on your farm to avoid cross-contamination.
• Monitor animals in isolation for signs of illness.
Reporter Kristen Sindelar has loved agriculture her entire life, coming from a diversified farm with three generations working side-by-side in northeastern Nebraska. Reach her at [email protected].
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