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Keeping animals, people safe at the fair

GOSHEN, Ind. -- The Elkhart County Fair is a great opportunity to come out to meet a variety of animals.

Earlier this week, ABC 57 News spoke to Extension Educator Robert Kelly, who works with the 4-H members throughout the year.

Kelly says 4-H is much more than just raising the animals and that there’s really a science to it.

From rabbits, to chickens, to cattle, and pigs, the Elkhart County Fair showcases all different kinds of animals.

Extension Educator Robert Kelly says animal safety is key.

“There’s always three rules that I use with them when they work with animals. The first one is make sure that the animal is always safe, make sure that the person working with the animal is safe, and then making sure that that interaction with the animal is always positive,” said Kelly.

Kelly tells ABC 57 News that all of the animals are vet checked before coming onto the fair grounds.

Furthermore, the fair has never had any cases of swine or avian flu.

“We do take precautions, just in case that would happen,” said Kelly.

Animals that appear to be sick are sent home to avoid spreading any possibility of disease to other animals or people.

A key component of the fair is education.

“People can stop by and ask questions of our open class exhibitors or our 4-H people just to learn more about animal agriculture,” said Kelly.

4-H member Paige Jacobs did poultry club this year; she has chickens, ducks, and turkeys. Jacobs knows that summer temperatures can pose a risk for her animals.

“For my meat birds, because they get really heavy, we’ll have fans on them and make sure there’s clean water, fresh water,” said Jacobs.

As for people walking through the barns, both Kelly and Jacobs say hygiene is super important.

This is the reason you’ll see hand-washing stations throughout the fair.

“Definitely when you’re walking through the barns, make sure you wash your hands. Good hygiene is important,” said Kelly. “Typically just a good old 30 second hand washing, making sure it’s thorough works very well.”

A 30 second hand washing amounts to singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice.

Kelly encourages everyone to come out and see firsthand the hard work the 4-H members will be showcasing.

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