New Mexico: Wild Jackrabbit Population Tested Positive for RHDV2

We have received notice that results on a wild jack rabbit population in Eddy County, New Mexico tested positive for RHDV2. Eddy, Torrance, and McKinley counties have all reported confirmed RHDv2 positive cases.  Additionally, a positive rabbit was just confirmed in Lincoln county. Samples have also been submitted for Chaves and Curry counties. Authorities are providing regular updates as information becomes available.  The concern with the wild jack rabbit population is a new development and may explain more the spread of the virus in New Mexico.  The widespread cancellations of events does reduce potential transmission although authorities do not know the initial source of the infections in New Mexico.  The ARBA will provide additional information the mo

ment it becomes available.  In the meantime please maintain strict biosecurity measures to secure your herds.

You can review and adjust biosecurity methods here:

NYC Confirmed RHD Infections

The ARBA has received notice that an isolated location in NYC has confirmed RHD infections. As this is a veterinary clinic, there is no indication that any of the infected rabbits are associated with a breeder’s facility. Investigations remain underway to determine the source of this isolated infections. Below is the notification received. Please refer to the information regarding RHD on our Facebook page, the ARBA website, and supporting recommendations are also offered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Out of an abundance of caution, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (AGM) is notifying the American Rabbit Breeders Association that on March 4, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2 (RHDV2) at a veterinary clinic in NYC. RHD is a viral disease that causes sudden death in rabbits. RHD poses no risk to human health or other animals.

USDA is currently investigating this incident, with support from AGM and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. While this is being considered an isolated situation, the Department is notifying area veterinarians and encouraging the practice of good biosecurity for anyone working with rabbits.

You can review and adjust biosecurity methods here:

Remembering Norman Simbeck – Beloved ARBA Judge

Retired ARBA Judge 294, Norman S. Simbeck, age 83, of Leoma, TN passed away Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at NHC Healthcare of Scott in Lawrenceburg, T

N.  He was a native of Lawrence County, TN, retired from the Lawrenceburg Fire Department, a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Lawrenceburg

and American Legion Post 146.  Mr. Simbeck also served his country in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Louis and Mattie Payne Simbeck; two brothers, Charles Simbeck and Edward Simbeck; and two sisters, Frances Killen and Ruby Agate.

He is survived by his wife, Sarah Russell Simbeck of Leoma, TN; six sons, Kenneth Simbeck of  Collinwood, TN, Carter Simbeck of Lawrenceburg, TN, William Simbeck of Huntsville, AL, Tommy McDow (Alberta) of Leoma, TN, Ty McDow (Tara) of Leoma, TN, and Tracy McDow (Kim) of Hendersonville, TN;  one daughter, Krystal McDow Carter (Steve) of Lawrenceburg, TN; one brother, Frank (Buddy) Simbeck of Lawrenceburg, TN; 13 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; several nieces; nephews; and many beloved pets.  Those serving as honorary pallbearers are the Lawrenceburg Fire Department and the National Guard.

Norman first joined the ARBA 12/20/1960 and became ARBA Rabbit Judge #294 6/10/71.  Norman and his loving wife, Sarah, have been instrumental supporters of the ARBA through the years.  Many of our current judges and show officials specifically list the Simbecks as being mentors who helped foster their passion for the hobby.

Arrangements are being handled by Neal Funeral Home, 231 N. Military Avenue, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.  The family will receive friends from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM Friday, July 26, 2019 at Neal Funeral Home with a rosary service at 7:00 PM.  Funeral services will be conducted at Neal Funeral Home at 11:00 AM Saturday, July 27, 2019.  Interment will follow at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Loretto, TN with full military honors.  Family suggests memorials be made to the American Cancer Society or the Lawrenceburg Firefighters Association.

A Message from the ARBA Executive Director

Dear ARBA members:
The British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture has issued the attached media release regarding an isolated RHD infection in Parksville, BC.  Please note that after follow up discussions with Ministry officials, this has been categorized as an “isolated infection”. No other suspicious deaths have been reported. This was one location, a single feral colony of about 20 to 25 rabbits appears to have been wiped out. Insect vectors were not implicated in the 2018 outbreak and the isolate of RHDv2 last year shows no characteristics normally associated with the 2 strains. Tissues have been submitted to the national laboratory in Winnipeg to have the strain from this event determined.
Breeders are encouraged to maintain healthy biosecurity measures to minimize risk of infection.  Please review the fact sheets provided regarding RHD and how you can protect your herd.  click here
More information will be provided as it becomes available.  Again, the Ministry of Agriculture has not categorized this infection as an outbreak.  If you have questions regarding the upcoming shows in BC please contact the show secretary for more information.
All the best,
Eric Stewart
ARBA Executive Director

Message from PA Department of Agriculture

In an effort to provide the most up to date and reliable information regarding the recent isolated RHD1 infection in PA, Executive Director Stewart met with officials at the PA Department of Agriculture headquarters last week. We have been provided the attached letter from the officials detailing facts pertaining to this isolated infection. It is important to note that the ARBA is working with government authorities to provide the most accurate information possible and that operating off of social media conjecture benefits no one. Should you have a question or concern, please contact your District Director.

The ARBA Hall of Fame Welcomes our 25th Inductee. Dr. Chris Hayhow

By Current ARBA President Josh Humphries

Being inducted into the ARBA Hall Of Fame is the highest honor that a member of our association can receive. It is my great honor

to tell you about a member who has been instrumental in the development and success of our beloved organization.

The ARBA Hall of Fame was established in 1952 and there are only 24 members that have received this highest honor. Tonight we will add a 25th member to this prestigious group.

Dr. Chris Hayhow joined the ARBA on September 12, 1967 (over 50 years) and is a life member of this association.
Dr. Hayhow earned his ARBA registrars license in 1971 and has been an ARBA Licensed Judge 581 for over 30 years. Dr. Hayhow has judged in 40 states and most provinces of Canada.

Dr. Hayhow has raised most of the breeds in the ARBA Standard of Perfection, he won Best Rex open at the 1971 ARBA Convention as a teenager; bred

and exhibited outstanding Rex, Polish, Netherland Dwarfs, Dutch, and New Zealand’s as a youth member. Chris has shown Dutch rabbits for many years and has helped his children enjoy the rabbit hobby with Dutch, English Angoras and Mini Lops.

Dr. Hayhow served as the ARBA District 9 Director from 1995 to 1996, as he resigned when he relocated to Nebraska.

Some of Dr. Hayhow’s greatest contributions to our association began when he served as the ARBA President 1998 – 2004 and again in 2006 – 2010.
While President, Dr. Hayhow revised the ARBA Convention Guidelines. During his presidency he helped guide preparations for a

new ARBA Guidebook, and re wrote the ARBA Show Rules.

In 1998 Dr. Hayhow initiated the funding for the ARBA Hall of Fame Library and in 2002 dedicated the Library to the late Dr. T. E. (Doc) Reed, and the late Oren Reynolds former Editor of the Domestic Rabbits Magazine and Advisor to Chris while serving on the ARBA Board.
In 2001 Dr. Hayhow received the prestigious ARBA Award of Excellence from Oren Reynolds.
Education is very important to Chris as he supported and helped plan for the ARBA Judges Academy development.

Additionally Dr. Hayhow initiated the ARBA President’s Award of Excellence.

With his vision the ARBA was able to go from 8,000 to 20,000 coops. He also coordinated the purchase of show equipment, and building of judging units for our annual ARBA Convention and Show.

Chris was very fortunate in having mentors in the association such as Harry Rice, Oren Reynolds, Jeannie Maddox, Fibber (Fib) McGehee and Joe Frizzell.
The highest honor Chris has received to date from the ARBA was when the 2011-2015 ARBA Standard of Perfection was dedicated to him.
I served as the ARBA District 6 Director for 6 years under the leadership of Dr. Chris Hayhow. Chris has been a mentor to me and I attribute my success as the ARBA President to Dr. Chris Hayhow. DR


Executive Director Stewart has been in touch with officials from both Ohio and Michigan for follow up information regarding suspicious cases of rabbit illnesses.  Michigan reports that there have been no RHD positive cases within the state.  Ohio reports that other than the one isolated case of a RHD positive rabbit test, no additional animals have tested positive for RHD.  The premises in Medina County Ohio which yielded the positive RHD rabbit test remains under quarantine.  The surviving rabbit that resided in the horse stall where the RHD positive rabbit lived in Medina County OH, has since been surrendered and after multiple tests the surviving rabbit has tested negative for RHD.  Other government agencies, in cooperation with OVMA, have also collected samples from nearby wildlife and all samples collected have tested negative for RHD.  Breeders are encouraged to maintain reasonable bio-security measures; however, note that this single isolated case of a rabbit testing positive for RHD in Medina County, Ohio is not categorized as an outbreak.


We are sorry to report that a RHD2 infected rabbit has been confirmed in Medina County, Ohio. When learning of the statement this afternoon, the ARBA immediately mobilized to obtain facts regarding the infection. In speaking with the Ohio State Veterinary Services office, we were able to determine that the report is unfortunately true. Although the identity and general location of the owners are confidential, we have learned that the rabbits were maintained privately and were not show rabbits. Rabbits maintained on the property were not transported on or off of the property for some time. False positive tests can be common, however in this case the tests were performed by Plum Island labs and PCR was conducted twice with the same result- RHD2 was isolated. Testing takes time, hence the delay from suspected infection and the notice being provided today; the ARBA was not alerted until this afternoon. Ohio State has involved multiple agencies in their efforts to conduct epidemiological study to determine how this isolated rabbit became infected, and to assess the of risk transmission to domestic rabbit populations in Ohio and North America. At this time it has not been categorized as an outbreak, the property that had housed the confirmed infected rabbit has been quarantined, and the ARBA will be the primary industry contact for updates from the OVMA. In the meantime, your ARBA Board of Directors are reviewing this serious concern and will be providing immediate updates both through the ARBA Website and ARBA Facebook page. We recognize the concerns with upcoming shows and the ARBA National Convention, both being at the forefront of the biosecurity conversations. Although the RHD2 virus was identified in British Columbia earlier this year, there is no evidence of any correlation between the BC infections and the infection identified in Medina County, Ohio. 

Please review the OVMA news post below long with the fact sheets regarding RHD and prevention. Expect immediate updates the moment they are available from the authorities. It is recommended to not act upon information from other sources. The ARBA will be the first point of contact for disseminating any developments regarding this serious concern. 

Vet Zone Article – Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease
RHD Fact Sheet
First confirmed U.S. case of RHD2 found in Medina County | OVMA News & Classifieds

ARBA Election Results


Josh Humphries – 2957 votes *
Joel Marshall – 2095 votes


Rusty Westhoff – 2590 votes *
Jeff Hardin – 2435 votes


Arlyse DeLoyola – (elected by acclamation)


Theresa Christen – 367 votes *
David Cardinal – 213 votes


Jim Rowland – 217 votes *
Jeff Albright – 196 votes
Errean Kratochvil – 31 votes


Terry Fender – 517 votes *
David Moll – 430 votes
LeAnn McKinney – 370 votes

* Elected

ARBA Office Relocating

The ARBA Board of Directors has finalized its decision to relocate the ARBA headquarters office from Illinois to Pennsylvania. This is a business decision that is expected to reduce operating costs by an estimated $20,000 per year that will help to maintain fee schedules despite inflation. In addition, the net proceeds from the sale of the existing facility and subsequent purchase of a facility in Pennsylvania is expected to provide a significant cash reserve
The current ARBA headquarters office will close on June 1st and the Pennsylvania office will begin operations on June 4th. During this transition period there may be some delays due to the conversion from one facility to another; however, every effort will be made to minimize service interruption. The Board has directed that any questions regarding office relocation be fielded by ARBA Steering Committee Co-Chairs, Mike Avesing and Roger Hassenpflug. Due to the involved nature of the relocation preparations, Eric Stewart may not be able to return your call immediately as he is currently occupied with the office transition.
Josh Humphries
ARBA President

RHD Update RE: British Columbia, Canada

The ARBA has been formally notified that there are two rabbitries on Vancouver Island, BC with confirmed RHD infections.  We were warned that there was the potential for these infections but asked to not release any notice until results were confirmed through testing.  Both rabbitries were utilizing recommended bio-security measures.  In speaking with one of the owners today we collected additional recommendations for means by which to potentially receive additional support in BC for containing the outbreak.  Please continue to look for more updates as we obtain additional information to keep you informed of all developments with the RHD outbreak in BC.

ARBA Statement Regarding Recent RHD Outbreak in British Columbia, Canada

The ARBA has remained vigilant in its monitoring the RHD outbreak in British Columbia, Canada.  The authorities have confirmed that there have been no identified infections in any rabbitry.  Testing has found the virus in two Eastern Cottontail rabbits (non-native species to BC), but no new infections identified in any other feral domestic rabbits.  The authorities have not determine the definitive source of the RHD outbreak but all leads indicate the feral population infected at Vancouver Island University was likely the first.  Allegations that rescue groups were sending rabbits from BC to Washington have been investigated and no RHD infections have been identified within the USA.
Citizens in BC have been offered the opportunity to obtain the RHD vaccine by contacting their veterinarian to be placed on the order.  There are no plans for the vaccine to become available within the USA.  It is illegal to obtain, possess, or administer the RHD vaccine within the USA.  Any rabbit vaccinated will test positive for RHD therefore if there were an outbreak, all rabbits testing positive for RHD would be eliminated.  The USDA-APHIS have strongly encouraged the ARBA to continue educating members regarding sound management and bio-security measures.  Keep in mind that the virus can be introduced on your shoes, clothing, objects, other animals, insects, and even within our own sinuses.  If you see suspicious deaths or any symptoms you feel may be RHD, immediately contact your veterinarian or any veterinary professional.  This is a mandatory reportable disease. The virus can be killed from surfaces using a 10% bleach solution.  There is not a cure for RHD and the mortality rates are generally so high that many outbreaks will end due to the rabbits being dead.  Prevention is key and we encourage you to please read the attached pdf fact sheets on the disease and appropriate bio-security precautions you can take.
Members in British Columbia have been quite responsible with how they have managed living within the outbreak areas.  We commend these breeders for their sacrifices and willingness to voluntarily quarantine their herds during this crisis.  We remain optimistic that the outbreak can be contained.  In the meantime, the ARBA Show Rules do permit show committees the option to deny entries from areas within 150 miles of a confirmed RHD outbreak.  Some clubs have decided to cancel their spring shows, but note that this is not a decision mandated by ARBA or the authorities at this time.  The single most important thing we can each do as rabbit breeders is to not panic.  Read over the literature provided, make judicious decisions regarding husbandry practices, and continue to enjoy our hobby.  The ARBA will continue to communicate with officials both within the USA and Canada thus remaining up to date with any and all developments.
Members are encouraged to download and print the following articles…

Mini Rex Sable Variety, Lionhead Siamese Sable Variety, and Tan Abyssinian Cavy Recognized as of December 1, 2017

The Sable Mini Rex, Siamese Sable Lionhead, and Tan Abyssinian Cavy passed their 3rd and final presentation at the 2017 ARBA Convention in Indianapolis, IN. The ARBA office has prepared official standard inserts formatted to fit the pages of the 2016-2020 ARBA Standard of Perfection for the new varieties:
12/1/2017 ARBA Standards Inserts (Mini Rex, Lionhead, and Cavy)

ARBA Partnering with FFA

To promote it’s recent partnership with Future Farmers of America – FFA, the ARBA has added a new page to its website to serve as an immediate resource to FFA members as well as advisors who are interested in expanding their current market and/or breeding rabbit programs. Below is a link to the new page…
FFA Resource Page

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