The Clark County Fair Board wants swine exhibitors to take precautions before attending the fair this week after reports of swine flu in Ohio, but some parents are upset about what the precautions could mean for their children and their pigs.
Pigs at the Clinton County fair were found to be infected with a strain of the swine flu that can infect humans, Clark County Fair Board President Bill Agle said.
“We’re just trying to be proactive and trying to do anything we can to prevent any kind of issues,” Agle said.
The Clark County Fair will open to the public on Friday at 8 a.m.
On Tuesday evening the fair posted to its Facebook page: “After speaking with the state vet, Dr. Forshey, we strongly urge exhibitors NOT to bring any swine that was exhibited at any county fair previously.”
The post also says that exhibitors shouldn’t bring hogs that show any sign of illness. There is potential, Agle said, that the junior show could be a terminal show — meaning exhibitors wouldn’t be able to take any hogs home and all pigs will be sold for slaughter.
“We’re trying to follow all the health protocols that we can to prevent any kind of illness,” he said.
That would only happen if swine flu was detected, he said.
“Our show won’t be terminal unless there’s some kind of an issue,” Agle said, “and we’re doing everything we can to be proactive on that.”
The fair vet will check on livestock each day of the fair.
“If we do see any issues we’ll immediately isolate those animals or send them home,” he said.
But some parents are upset about the prospect of the show being terminal, Fair Mom Jaime Florence said, because many kids want to show their pigs at other fairs.
“It’s a lot of work and responsibility,” she said. “So I know kids like to show at the state fair.”
Some people also like to take their pigs home to breed.
“You just have to respect their guidelines that they have to follow,” Florence said of the fair’s precautions.
A terminal show wouldn’t be ideal, she said, but, “as long as everyone gets to show I think that is more or less the most important thing.”
The Facebook post says, “We recommend any swine returning home be removed Tuesday evening. We will also allow swine to leave on Wednesday night after the county farrowed show at the set times already established.”
Last year two children became sick with swine flu after attending the Clark County Fair. The recovered and the virus didn’t spread to anyone else, the Springfield News-Sun previously reported.
Visitors shouldn’t be concerned about the virus, Agle said. People will be safe, he said, as long as they wash their hands after visiting animal barns and before eating.