Pig exhibit at State Fair canceled to protect animals from deadly new virus

The piglet and sows exhibit and competition at this yearâ??s New York State Fair will be suspended because of an aggressive new virus, Fair Officials say.

Acting State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball and State Veterinarian Dr. David Smith

announced the suspension Monday in an effort to protect the health and safety of piglets and their mothers from the virus called Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, which has an extremely high mortality rate among piglets.

â??The health and safety of all livestock at the 2014 Fair is of paramount importance,â?? said Acting Commissioner Ball. â??We understand that some fairgoers may be disappointed, but we want the Fair to continue to show off the best in New York agriculture and we need to do so in the best possible way to protect the well-being of the animals in our care.â??

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

PED is fairly new to the U.S., but it has already spread to 24 states since May of 2013. The disease has claimed an estimated 5 million piglets in the last year. PED only infects swine.