The Associated Press
CODY, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming rodeo and fair organizers want foreign visitors not to get too close to the livestock this year to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease.
At the Cody Nite Rodeo, tourists from Great Britain and other countries with outbreaks of the virus are asked to avoid livestock pens and competition areas.
The policy is being enforced nightly during the summer long rodeo, officials said. Also, signs tell foreign visitors to stay out of Buzzards Roost, which are the stands directly above the livestock pens and chutes.
The policy applies to tourists who have been in the United States for fewer than five days. After five days it is assumed that the virus is dead.
Chip Richard of the Cody Stampede Board said the policy is based on an honor system because there is no realistic way of checking all visitors that could be carrying the virus.
We barely have time to take their tickets as they come through the ticket gate, so its not like well be able to ask for their passports, he said.
Problems are not expected, he said.
If theyre coming from Great Britain, theyve seen the devastation. Theyve looked at the burning carcasses and theyve seen the horror films. They certainly dont want to bring that here, he said.
A similar policy will be enforced at the gates of the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas Aug. 11-18.
Cheyenne Frontier Days officials have discussed whether to enact similar measures, said Marty Luna, chairman of concessions. The rodeo begins July 20.
Foot-and-mouth disease affects cloven-hoofed animals, which could mean steers, calves and bulls prevalent at rodeos and fairs.
Tourists from countries with the disease are checked for the virus at U.S. airports. But taking precautions is still a good idea, said State Veterinarian Jim Logan.
The state has warned that constant vigilance is necessary to protect the domestic livestock industry from foot-and-mouth disease.
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