State inspectors checking rides, pigs at Indiana State Fair before crowds arrive

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The amusement rides at the Indiana State Fairgrounds will be inspected by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security on Thursday to make sure fairgoers are safe.

The Indiana State Board of Animal health was on site Wednesday. checking in thousands of show pigs to make sure none of them were sick.

Veterinarians had 4-H mothers and fathers taking the pigs’ temperatures. They were concerned about 105 degree temperatures that would keep the pigs out of any competition. It could signal an illness that could be highly contagious to the other animals or humans.

“The influenza that we had last year with H3N2 is what prompted us to do this last year because there is a risk because people can get it from the pigs,” said Denise Derrer, a spokeswoman for the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.

The pig inspections are expected to last 31 hours.

“There are always concerns about someone else bringing something in. (We) want everybody to be healthy,” said Mike Perkins, a 4-H dad.

An additional snout swab by an Ohio veterinary college, that is conducting a study on swine flu, was also included in the beefed up protocol this year.

Derrer said they will use the study results to determine if their inspection process is effective and also reveal if they could be doing more to protect the animals and the public.

“We are ready for whatever we have to deal with this year,” said Andy Klotz, Indiana State Fair Communications Director.

He said they are confident in their bio-security plan and in the company that provides the amusement rides every year.

“We have been dealing with North American Midway Entertainment for over 20 years. They are the largest carnival operator in the country, and they know exactly what they’re doing,” said Klotz.

Still, the state inspectors will be looking for faulty brakes or electrical circuits on Thursday before opening day.