Biosecurity for Livestock Exhibitors (E2841)
Livestock exhibitions are an important part of agriculture in the United States.
Livestock exhibitions are an important part of agriculture in the United States. They provide an opportunity for youth to participate in an activity focused on agriculture and the livestock industry. Livestock exhibitions are also an important marketing tool for seedstock producers, providing an opportunity to showcase their animals and to evaluate breeding programs by directly comparing their animals with others.
Unfortunately, livestock exhibitions are a potential threat to the health of individual animals, the herds from which they originate and the industry they represent. Exhibitions create an environment that results in the intermingling of animals that are of different species, breed, age and sex and come from many different locations and management backgrounds. Travel, close confinement in unfamiliar settings and other stressors can lead to increased disease susceptibility. Stress can also cause animals that may be carriers of disease pathogens to shed these organisms in high quantities. In addition, exhibitions allow people from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests to have close contact with animals. All of these factors put exhibit animals at high risk of becoming exposed to disease pathogens and becoming sick and spreading the disease. Biosecurity precautions can be taken to reduce this risk to exhibit animals.