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Poultry ban repealed too late for Expo

August 07, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

SHARPSBURG - Monday's decision by the Maryland Department of Agriculture to lift a ban on public poultry displays came too late for the Washington County Ag Expo.

Twenty-two capons - castrated roosters - were killed so they could be judged in the market bird category on July 30.

Expo organizers had two choices - kill the birds and judge them or cancel the event entirely.

In April, the state Department of Agriculture banned poultry from fairs and exhibitions because of concerns about avian influenza, which is highly contagious for birds.

Avian influenza turned up in Virginia on July 2.

Maryland, which did not have any reported cases, lifted its poultry display ban Monday.

The ban's repeal is "too little, too late" for the Ag Expo, Jeff Semler, a Maryland Cooperative Extension educator and poultry judge, said Tuesday.

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By the original schedule, poultry judging would have been this Thursday, but it was switched to July 30 so the birds could be killed and processed before the Ag Expo began.

Other poultry judging and exhibitions, such as for egg production fowl, were canceled, Semler said.

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