Continuing scourge of avian flu propels Wisconsin ban on moving domestic birds to live events

Avian Flu Test
A Minnesota Board of Animal Health staffer tests a chicken from a backyard flock for avian influenza during a previous outbreak. (Minnesota Board of Animal Health photo)

MADISON (WKBT) — Continuing cases of avian flu in wild and domestic birds prompted a Wisconsin agency to issue an order Tuesday prohibiting the movement of domestic birds to all live events, including shows, exhibitions and swap meets.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection order replaced one issued April 7 to expand the suspension from just poultry to all domestic birds.

It will remain in effect until 30 days after the last detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza among domestic flocks in Wisconsin, according to the DATCP.

Domestic birds are defined as any avian species held in captivity, including poultry, ratites, pet birds and farm-raised game birds that have not been released into the wild.

The recent outbreak of the virulent strain of the avian influenza has resulted in the deaths of more than 27 million chickens, turkeys and other birds in Wisconsin, Minnesota and more than 30 other U.S. states. Some have died outright, while in most cases, flock owners have had to slaughter millions in an effort to halt the spread.

The news DATCP order notes that, “While the strain of HPAI found is highly contagious among domestic birds, there are minimal risks to human health from domestic birds or domestic bird products at this time.”

The agency also urged poultry owners to continue practicing strict biosecurity and, when possible, keep their flocks indoors to prevent contact with wild birds.

The DATCP also asks poultry owners to register their premises. State law requires that all livestock owners register where their animals are kept. Registration is intended to help animal health officials keep track of animals during disease outbreaks.

HPAI detections and dates are listed on the DATCP website.

To report increased mortality or signs of illness among domestic birds, contact DATCP at (608) 224-4872 (business hours) or (800) 943-0003 (after hours and weekend). Reports also can be emailed to

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