Veterinary expert: Some stock show lambs may not have been tampered with
DENVER An Oklahoma veterinary expert has said some lambs allegedly given injections to make them look muscular for the National Western Stock Show may simply have been given vaccinations or antibiotics.Dr. Bill Johnson, director of the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, told The Denver Post in Friday’s editions that he reviewed pathology reports on the lambs and determined that needle marks in some were in places where vaccinations are given or antibiotics are injected.”I’d like to stress that so far, what I’ve seen, some of these lambs did not belong with a negative label,” Johnson said.The National Western disqualified 17 exhibitors, including the top two winners, from the annual junior market show, saying 18 lambs had been injected to enhance their appearance.The show was held Jan. 19 and the disqualifications were announced April 5, after pathology tests by Colorado State University.Denver prosecutors were investigating but had made no decision on whether to file charges, district attorney’s spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said Friday.Prize money and sale proceeds were withheld from the exhibitors. They could also be banned from future shows, but no decision had been made, National Western spokeswoman Kati Anderson said Friday.- The Associated PressThe exhibitors ranged from 9 to 19 years old and came from all over the country. Fourteen of the lambs belonged to Oklahoma youth.Johnson, whose laboratory is in Stillwater, Okla., said CSU “did a very good job” but that stock show officials may have “over-interpreted” references to injection sites in the CSU reports.Some of the reports support a finding of cheating, he said.Needle marks on some of the lambs were in places “that would be very difficult for a realistic person to understand why those puncture sites are there,” he said.Dr. Barb Powers, director of the diagnostic laboratory at CSU, said the lab documented the injection sites and “it is up to the stock show to decide who they want to disqualify or not.”CSU has not determined what was allegedly injected into the lambs.Pat Grant, president and chief executive of the stock show, said he would discuss Johnson’s conclusions with CSU and stock show veterinarians.”We want to be clear and correct in the animals that we have disqualified,” Grant said. “We have acted on the basis of the pathology reports and the technical expertise we’ve heard and that we’ve received.”A lawyer representing five of the exhibitors from Oklahoma said he would seek a hearing for the teens.”We’re going to challenge it. We want a hearing, and a fair hearing – not some deal where the deck is stacked,” Jones told The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City. “These people deserve to be heard.”He criticized the National Western for releasing the teens’ names to the media before notifying their parents and said the animals were disqualified before an inquiry.
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