Exhibitors should take precautions to comply with state livestock laws


REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Agriculture is reminding exhibitors to take a close look at livestock exhibition laws and rules to prevent mistakes punishable by law.

The law. The Livestock Show Reform Act defines illegal activities and sets criminal penalties for tampering with exhibition livestock.

The law (Ohio Revised Code 901.76) defines tampering to include injection or administration of products designed to change the condition or appearance of an animal.

The law makes tampering a fourth degree felony with a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Unintentional violations can result in disqualification of exhibition champions.

Rules. State veterinarian David Glauer recommends exhibitors read the law and note the following rules:

* The use of any material is prohibited that conceals, transforms, or enhances the true confirmation or configuration of any livestock including by way of example but not limited to rope, false hair, graphite, and hemp.

* For breeding classes, the rules of the breed associations will constitute acceptable grooming practices.

* At an exhibition, lambs may only be drenched for a medical condition when diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian.

* All breeding sheep and goats must be identified with the official USDA identification.

* Any official tag must remain in the animal. For example, USDA identification may not be removed and replaced with a different tag.

* Drugs, prescription and over-the-counter, must be labeled for the animal being treated. For example, ractopamine (Paylean) is not labeled for use in sheep, but it is approved for use in swine.

For information about label uses for food animals and withdrawal times, go to www.farad.org.

Each exhibition has its own rules in addition to those spelled out in state livestock exhibition tampering rules. Exhibitors should carefully review the rules before entering each competition.

Some state rules are optional, but are mandatory if the show sponsor does not opt out of the rule.

Option rules. Check with show sponsors to determine if the following optional rules apply:

* Sponsors may adopt a rule prohibiting the slick clipping or body shaving of market hogs except on the ears and tails.

Slick shearing on underlines is also prohibited by this rule.

All hair on the body of market hogs must be one-half inch in length.

* State rules require that fitters be registered with show management, although shows may opt out of this rule and replace it with a variation of it.

* Some non-terminal shows may also opt out of rules governing grooming practices such as the use of dyes on animal hair.

Also, national breed associations may have rules that vary among breeds of the same species.

Participate. Ohio Department of Agriculture’s exhibition livestock testing program watches for the improper use of drugs and other foreign substances in champion animals exhibited at Ohio fairs.

The tests the department performs on urine, tissue, and other samples taken in the field by exhibition officials can disclose residues of illegal drugs or substances that may have been used to enhance the appearance of exhibition livestock.

A positive drug test can disqualify any animal including grand champion and reserve champions of any species.

Enhanced carcass inspections of the animals are also conducted at meat packing facilities.

Resources. For more information about livestock tampering, visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture Web site at www.ohioagriculture.gov (click on “Regulatory Programs,” “Animal Industry,” “OAC and ORC Division Rules” and “901: Livestock Show Reform Law”).


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