A grand champion lamb is currently under investigation after a veterinarian discovered a foreign substance in the animal’s system that might have given it an unfair advantage over its competitors. Tests from the Ohio Department of Agriculture reveal that the lamb was given a diuretic, which is banned for competitive purposes as it makes an animal’s muscles feel leaner.
“We don’t know how it got in there, and we may never know. But it’s the exhibitor’s responsibility to present an animal to the fair for competition that’s free of all of those,” Dr. Tony Forshey, the state veterinarian at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, told NBC4 in Columbus.
Unprescribed diuretics also are just generally bad to give animals as it causes dehydration, and, for livestock, it could contaminate the meat. This knowledge is common sense enough in the agriculture community that even a 13-year-old was able to eloquently speak on the problems of pumping your competing animal full of drugs.
“You don’t want an animal with a ton of drugs in it because it might not be safe to eat and everything,” said Hawkins Marihugh, 13, whose ducks won grand champion at a Franklin County fair. “So that’s why I think it’s pretty important to have good quality stuff.”
The investigation into the champion lamb in Logan County is reportedly still ongoing. The state Department of Agriculture will report its conclusions to the county fair board, who will then determine whether the handler and animal keep their awards. However, regardless of this investigation’s outcome, the fate of the lamb has already been sealed and it will be sent to slaughter once the PEDs are out of its system.