Swine show exhibitors must have premise identification for livestock shows
Participants in swine shows and exhibits will be required to have an official premise identification card issued by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry effective Aug. 1. Officials say the rule will protect both economic and social interests.
"This is a very proactive step that lets Oklahomans decide how best to protect the health of our citizens, our livestock industry and our livestock show industry," said Governor Brad Henry. "Suggestions were made earlier by the Centers for Disease Control and some commercial producers to eliminate swine shows completely, but this is a much better alternative that lets our 4-H and FFA members compete in livestock shows."
Even though the Novel Influenza A-H1N1 is not known to exist in any U.S. swine herd, it is possible that a person with an influenza virus could transmit the disease to swine. State Secretary of Agriculture, Terry Peach, said if an influenza outbreak were to occur, rapid tracking of infected animals and animals they could have been in contact with would be critical to containing the disease.
"This is a tool we will need if an outbreak of influenza were to strike our state," he said. "We are simply preparing ourselves in advance."
A large percentage of show swine are kept on school farms, Peach said. In those cases the school farm will have its own premise identification and the exhibitors will not need additional identification.
"If the animal is always kept at the school, no other premise identification is required," he said. "Also, if an exhibitor shows up at a livestock show without premise identification the new rule does not refuse them to show if they fill out the required identification form immediately."
There is no charge for premise identification and all information is strictly confidential and cannot be released. No other livestock species brought for exhibition are required to have the premise identification at this time.
The State Board of Agriculture voted unanimously to approve the measure at its monthly board meeting June 24.