Pig disease cancels popular state fair showcase

A nasty virus that's killed millions of pigs and raised the price of pork is causing New York State Fair officials to cancel this year's piglet and sow exhibits at the annual show in Syracuse. In a press release

Piggies! Photo: Courtney Grimes-Sutton

Look out, piggies. Photo: Courtney Grimes-Sutton

, state veterinarian David Smith said the risk of piglets contracting Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) is too high:

"Fairs in general are a challenging environment in terms of animal disease control, and a lack of vaccine that's been proven effective against PED makes the risk for piglets too high this year," said Dr. Smith.  "Animals come to the Fair from all over the state and with a disease like PED circulating, it's in the best interests of the animals that we take this action."

The risk is especially high when you consider scientists think the virus came to the United States from China on the bottom of someone's shoe. In other words, it's highly transmittable.

The livestock shows and exhibits at the State and county fairs are increasingly rare moments for New York's farm families to garner attention and shine. It's especially full of excitement for children raised on farms, or kids who have shown interest in farming through 4-H or other agricultural programs. Less than 2% of the U.S. population farms today. There's not a lot of spotlight out there.

As our world and its composition changes – due to climate change, global mobility, stronger viruses and bacteria – this is the new reality. Whether it's more Lyme disease-carrying ticks or viruses that kill pigs, our behavior will have to change, too.


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