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Below are New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) recommendations and regulations for your reference prior to the fair and show season. The regulations identified by an asterisk* are not recommendations and must be enforced.  Individual fairs and shows may impose additional or more stringent health requirements.  Additionally, both the NJDA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have called for increased surveillance and reporting of foreign animal and emerging diseases stressing that no potential cases of significant animal disease should be ignored.  Immediately report any suspicious or unusual conditions in an animal, herd or flock for rapid diagnosis, control and eradication of a disease. 
New Jersey Fair and Show Animal Health Recommendations
Certified Pullorum Testing Class Scheduled

All persons associated with any aspect of the current fair and show season are encouraged to remain especially vigilant for any sign of unusual diseases in an animal, flock or herd. Additional security measures to protect the livestock and poultry exhibited should also be considered.

Specific signs that may indicate exposure to an infectious or toxic agent include:
  1. Excessive discharges from body orifices
  2. Off–feed or weight loss
  3. Skin lesions including blisters, pustules or discoloration around animal’s mouth, nose, teats or hooves
  4. Abnormal behavior; excessive vocalization, depression
  5. Excessive urination, excessive salivation; excessive tearing
  6. Lameness, off balance, falling down, difficulty rising; circling, partial or complete paralysis
  7. Muscle tremors, seizures
  8. Sneezing, open mouthed breathing, gasping for air, nasal discharge, coughing, difficulty breathing
  9. Diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, excessive dry manure
  10. Twisting of head and neck
  11. Foaming at mouth or nose
  12. Head pressing, stargazing, no menace response, uneven pupil sizes
  13. Drooping wings, feather or hair loss, excessive loss of mane and tail hairs
  14. Partial to complete drop in egg production, production of thin-shelled eggs
  15. Swelling of tissues around eyes, neck or legs; cloudiness of eyes
  16. Abortions, still births, weak neonates
  17. Abnormal body temperature
  18. Unusual ticks or maggots
  19. Staggering, falling or central nervous system disorders

If you observe any of the above symptoms or suspect a disease transmission, contact your veterinarian, the New Jersey State Veterinarian at 609-671-6400, or USDA's Veterinary Services office in Robbinsville at 609-259-5260 IMMEDIATELY.

Animal Health Concerns (Horses, Livestock, Poultry, Animals Raised for Fur)

The NJDA recommends that all fairs/shows arrange for veterinary medical assistance for the duration of the exhibition. Exhibitors should be made aware of the local veterinarians willing to provide medical attention for the animals being exhibited.

Fair/show management is responsible for ensuring that animals to be exhibited enter the grounds in good health with appropriate documentation.   Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (CVIs) are used by veterinarians for interstate movement of livestock (including horses); a Health Certificate (HC) can be issued by a veterinarian (see sample for your use); and the 4-H Poultry, Rabbit, or Cavy Health Form can be used for those species.  A Veterinary Services (VS) Form 9-3 may be used for poultry in lieu of the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection.

Veterinary examinations performed at the farm of origin are the most effective in preventing disease outbreaks.  However, once animals are inspected, owners must notify their veterinarian if any of their animals exhibit signs of infectious disease prior to the fair/show.   Any animals showing obvious clinical signs of warts, ringworm, foot rot, parasites, pink eye, enlarged and inflamed lymph nodes, draining abscesses or open wounds must not be exhibited or allowed to remain on the fair/show grounds.

Health Status of Animals

All exhibiting animals are to be in good health prior to show.


1. Veterinary examinations of the herd/flock should be performed on the farm of  origin prior to the fair/show.

a) Exhibiting animals may have an official CVI, which is good for 30 days, and is signed by an accredited veterinarian or

b) Native New Jersey animals may have the Health Certificate (see sample enclosed) signed by the examining veterinarian and the animal owner.


2. Exhibited animals can be examined at the fair/show by a veterinarian, who would sign either:                              

a) A Health Certificate (see sample), or

b) An official CVI, stating that the destination of the animal is the designated fair.

To ensure you will have a veterinarian on the grounds to inspect incoming animals without a CVI or HC, it is recommended that you publish the specified time(s) the veterinarian will be available to inspect those animals.  Exhibitors should be instructed to bring the animals for exam at those specified times, and exam costs will be the owner’s responsibility.

If on-farm exams are performed, to facilitate ease in conducting these inspections, it is recommended that the fair and/or Extension office assist exhibitors by arranging and organizing a one-day inspection date where an accredited veterinarian can travel to each of the exhibitors' farms to perform the inspections and write the CVIs.  Proper biosecurity measures must be employed during these inspections.

Special Biosecurity Concerns

Fair management should restrict access to exhibited animals during off-hours, as well as their food and water sources. It is highly recommended that a veterinarian or authorized person perform a daily walk-through of the show barns to inspect exhibiting animals for any signs of illness. Suspect illness should be reported to the fair veterinarian immediately.

Key Facts for People Exhibiting Pigs at Fairs

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PED Virus Information for Fair Organizers

PED Virus Information for Exhibitors 

Food Safety Concerns

An ongoing national issue regarding animals destined for human consumption is food safety.  Therefore, any food animal should have a Drug Use Form accompanying it to the fair.  Below is a copy of this form for your group leader to duplicate and use. 

Drug Use Form 

This form will certify that the market animal is free of any medication – which means that:

1.  The animal has not been treated with drugs, or
2.  The animal does not contain a drug for which the withdrawal period has not yet elapsed per label directions.

If the animal has received drugs or medications for which the withdrawal period has not yet elapsed, this must be documented on the form. The animal identification, drug name, date(s) of administration, the route of administration, and the drug withdrawal time prior to slaughter must be documented. Animals cannot be turned away from the show if they received medications.  The drugs simply need to be documented, and the withdrawal time clearly stated.  Certain drugs are illegal for use in food animals.  Gentamicin is one such antibiotic.  It is the responsibility of the animal producer to check with his or her veterinarian as to what medications can be given. It is recommended that the exhibitors become educated early about the proper use of antibiotics and other medications.   Drug Use Forms should be distributed to the exhibitors at the beginning of the project season.  The forms should also be made available to out-of-state exhibitors.  The food safety form not only helps protect the consumer, but also teaches exhibitors responsibility in the management and care of food animals.  This documentation should follow the food animal to its final slaughter destination.

Public Health Concerns

Guidelines for Animal Contact Areas were drafted to minimize potential human and animal exposure from animal-to-human and human-to-animal borne diseases, and to protect the health of exhibiting animals.  This additional information will aid fairs in the planning of their hand-cleaning stations at animal contact areas, including petting zoos. 

Guidelines for Animal Contact Areas 

Please continue to display the “Lose the Germs” poster series at these hand-cleaning stations. These are available at the following website:

Special Concerns

Special considerations for foreign travelers visiting fairs, shows, and farms:

  • All visitors should be questioned about their recent travel history to determine potential exposure to disease-infected livestock and poultry, before allowing entry onto the grounds.  Visitors from other countries who have been within one mile of foreign livestock and poultry areas, zoos, or game parks in the past five days should be considered potentially exposed.
  • If it is determined that some visitors may have been exposed, their shoes should be cleaned and disinfected (Virkon-S, Dupont) at that entry point and the persons discouraged from being anywhere near livestock and poultry at the fair or exhibit. Vinegar should be offered to disinfect watches, eyeglasses, etc.
  • If the showgrounds are very open, and no single entry point/control point can be established to question visitors, all livestock and poultry should be completely separated from the visitors – i.e., visitors can only watch the events from stands, but not be allowed near the animals to touch or get close to them.

 Rabies concerns:

  • All eligible livestock species should be current on rabies vaccination and proof of vaccination by a veterinarian provided upon entry.  Exhibitors should ask their veterinarian if they have questions about this vaccine.
Avian Influenza

Concerns regarding Avian Influenza virus continue. At this time Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, including the Asian H5N1 strain, is exotic to the United States.  However, in order to protect the state’s poultry industry, the Department of Agriculture is recommending that shows and fairs adopt rules that require all poultry and hatching eggs entering New Jersey fairs/shows present certification that they are free from Avian Influenza, regardless of where the birds originated.

Equine Infectious Diseases

Recent or ongoing outbreaks involving Equine Herpes virus and Strangles create additional concerns for those horses traveling to shows and fairs this year. Due to the potentially increased risk of disease exposure from these activities the following guidelines are recommended:

  1. Horse’s temperature should be normal prior to entry.
  2. Vaccination for diseases after consultation with your veterinarian.
  3. Close monitoring for preliminary signs of disease exposure prior to movement to shows/fairs (i.e., depression, nasal discharge, swollen glands, etc.).
  4. Maintain quarantine areas on the farm for horses moving on and off premises to protect resident horses.
  5. Immediately quarantine clinically ill animals.
  6. Practice good biosecurity techniques.

Other Concerns

If other emergency conditions, including outbreaks of certain infectious diseases, warrant additional restrictions on any species of animals moving into and/or through the state, additional emergency rules may be enacted and all fair and show managers will be notified.