The Minnesota Board of Animal Health this morning announced a directive that cancels all bird exhibitions at county fairs, the state fair and any other gathering of birds. The Minnesota State Fair announces that the Poultry Barn will instead feature interactive displays and presentations about Minnesota's poultry industry.

Steele County Fair President Jim Gleason this morning confirmed the directive that there will be no poultry exhibits at this year's Steele County Fair. This directive also applies to petting zoos statewide.

So far this year nearly 90 Minnesota farms have been victimized by avian influenza. The board's goal in banning poultry events is to minimize the risk of potential spread of the avian flu.

This directive remains in place through the end of 2015. This decision was arrived at after animal health officials met with leadership of the Minnesota State Fair and University of Minnesota Extension earlier this week.