Court upholds hog’s disqualification

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SALEM, Ohio – Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge David Johnson has upheld Ohio Agriculture Director Fred Dailey’s order to disqualify the 2002 Ohio State Fair grand champion market barrow.

The disqualification of Taylor Creager’s project came after testicular tissue was discovered in the animal on the rail.

On July 2, 2003, Patti and Todd Creager appealed the decision that stripped their daughter of her award.

No prize. Dailey’s initial order said Creager, of Wauseon, must forfeit awards, prizes, premiums, and proceeds earned from the show.

According to state fair spokesperson Christina Minier, the only prize Creager took home is her champion’s banner.

No pay. Todd Creager said his daughter has received no compensation for her project, including fair market value for the animal that was slaughtered and retailed.

Creager was poised to collect $8,000 from the sale of her champion project. The remainder of the $20,000 bid from Meijer was earmarked for the fair’s youth reserve program.

“We’ve received nothing but an $8,600 lawyer bill,” Todd Creager said.

Creager also said his daughter will hang on to the purple champion’s banner presented to her at the 2002 state fair until the family decides its next course of action.

Appeal? According to Melanie Wilt, a state department of agriculture spokesperson, the Creager family “can appeal this as far as the legal system allows.”

Even with wiggle room there, the Creager family isn’t sure what will happen next.

“We don’t know if we have much of a chance past this,” Todd Creager said of a potential appeal.

“As of this date, we haven’t been in front of an unbiased judge. We haven’t even told our side of the story,” Creager said, noting the most recent ruling came without oral arguments.

For principle. Though the family is losing money and potential sales from a tarnished reputation – the family sells club pigs across the country every year – Todd Creager said the family is fighting the rule because of the principle behind it.

“We understand the laws are set up to catch cheaters, but we’re being penalized unfairly. Things have been dragged out this long because the punishment doesn’t fit the crime,” Todd Creager said.

Creager castrated the barrow, farrowed on his northwest Ohio farm.

Ohio Agriculture Director Fred Dailey has said he believes the violation was unintentional.

“In this case, the animal was entered as a barrow although it still had remnants of testicular tissue. The exhibitor is innocent of any wrongdoing, but the fact remains that the winning hog was ineligible,” Dailey said in an earlier statement.

A new winner. Creager’s younger sister, Bailey, took home this year’s Ohio State Fair grand champion hog award and a $20,000 bid from Meijer.

Bailey Creager’s barrow passed its post-mortem inspection, according to the department of agriculture.

The sisters exhibited three of the top 12 hogs at the state fair show in 2003. They claimed the top spots in the crossbred, Hampshire and Chester White categories.

State laws. State livestock exhibition law and rule prohibit testicular tissue from remaining in the body of an animal entered into competition as a castrated animal.

The Livestock Show Reform Act, which gave the department rulemaking authority to set regulations for competitive livestock exhibitions in Ohio, was passed by the Ohio General Assembly in 1995.

The reform act came on the heels of a series of scandals that involved the use of illegal drugs and tampering to enhance the appearance of exhibitors’ livestock.

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