You’ll see sheep, goats, pigs, cows, horses and a flock of birds at the IPE, but no rabbits.
With the onset of disease in rabbits, the Armstrong’s Interior Provincial Exhibition has decided to remove the furry little friends from the exhibit.
“This decision was based on the rabbit hemorrhagic disease that has infected a number of rabbits on Vancouver Island and has now spread to the Lower Mainland,” said Yvonne Paulson, IPE general manager. “It’s a very aggressive disease that is easily carried from people, other rabbits etc. We wouldn’t want any rabbits to be in danger of contracting this horrible virus disease.”
The rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) is a serious viral disease of European rabbits that spreads easily and quickly in susceptible rabbit populations. Since many domestic (pet) rabbits breeds are derived from Europe, they are susceptible to infection. High rates of illness and death can occur in exposed rabbits.
The virus spreads among rabbits through secretions including saliva, runny eyes and nose, urine, feces and contaminated bedding, food and water. It can also be spread by humans, wildlife and insects on contaminated clothing, fur, and other surfaces. The virus can survive for long periods of time in the environment and remain infectious to animals. The disease does not affect humans and not known to affect other animals.
“The IPE takes pride in our agriculture at the fair and always have the welfare of the animals at heart,” said Paulson. “We have acted responsibly and professionally in making this decision.”
The IPE takes place Aug. 29 to Sept. 2, with the theme Sheep Thrills at the IPE — See ewe at the fair.
“The IPE looks forward to having the rabbits back to the fair in 2019.”