On Thursday the 1st of June, a suspected case of infectious bronchitis was detected at the Poultry Show held within the Royal Bath & West Show. The official Veterinary Surgeons were immediately contacted and birds quarantined. Later on in the day, further cases were suspected, all from the same stock, and the decision was made by Show Officials, as well as the Honorary Veterinary Surgeon to remove all birds from this exhibitor from the show. Once this was carried out, letters were provided for the remaining exhibitors, highlighting the issue, but ensuring that exhibitors were made aware that this is by no means an outbreak, instead simply a precautionary measure as the Royal Bath & West of England Show Society take biosecurity very seriously. Once the show had been taken down, the decision was made to cancel the Saturday show as a further precautionary measure. The veterinary officers have stated that the most likely diagnosis was infectious bronchitis. This would present itself within 3 days as clear nasal discharge, and sneezing/coughing. It only affects galliformes (therefore not waterfowl). It is usually not necessary to administer medication as the birds can heal with sufficiently clean and ventilated surroundings that are free of stress. The guidelines from DEFRA include refraining from showing or selling birds that have been at the show for a minimum of 21 days. Personally, we are happy to speak to any Bath & West exhibitors who have concerns, as well as any PCGB members. We would just like to highlight again that this is not being considered an outbreak, but an isolated incident from one group of stock, which the professional veterinary surgeons in charge, and Show Officials felt it was best to deal with by cancelling the Saturday Show for Biosecurity precautions. We have also had confirmation from a source at DEFRA that we made the correct decision. The responsibility of veterinary officers at agricultural shows is to the welfare of exhibits, which is why they give initial broad diagnoses in order to gauge the biosecurity issues facing sections. If there is a suspicion of infectious disease, they have full power to close a show and advise accordingly. According to regulations, it is then the responsibility of the owner to seek confirmation or rebuttal of initial diagnosis, not the responsibility of the show. The veterinary officers at agricultural shows are there to avoid any biosecurity issues and have full support from DEFRA on that case. They nor the show are responsible for confirmation of diagnosis. The show was cancelled to avoid risk of contamination on the Saturday and we have had further confirmation that this is entirely in keeping with DEFRA biosecurity regulations. Again, any questions, we are happy to speak to members.
Philippe Wilson - Deputy Chief Steward, Poultry Section - Royal Bath & West of England Show
Paul Meatyard - Chief Steward, Poultry Section - Royal Bath & West of England Show