Due to bird flu, county fairs have been banned from using chickens during the festivities. So stuffed animals came to the rescue as a creative solution.
County fairs have gone on to try out various ways to improve the displays and make up for the lack of real birds and chickens. Some used funky and funny looking stuffies to make the displays more lively. Others have opted for the most realistic stuffed animals possible, including some with real feathers.
Terry Guoan, who has ran the Arenac County poultry fair for years says this year the worst case scenario became a reality. “We had to scramble to figure out what to do”, Guoan says to WNEM.
Even though the there were no sick chickens at Arenac they had to comply to the ban and keep the birds in quarantine to keep them safe. The ban is for all fairs, Guoan adds.
If the problem is only for this year, it won’t be that much of an issue, Guoan says. He adds that the situation is not ideal for the next few years. “I’m really hoping we can go back to the normal days and do this without having any problems”, he comments.
Farmers and authorities are doing their best to do that. But in the end it is a matter of managing to contain the bird flu quickly and have enough time to ensure that everything is safe again.
But not everyone are that much worried. Hunter Nelson has taken part in fairs for the past six years and has been taking home prizes each year for his chickens. “It’s a little different because the stuffed animals don’t move as good as the birds, trying to pose them,” Nelson says. Despite that, he still says it is business as usual. Maybe it has something to do that he took the first prize home again.