MOUNT VERNON — As part of his duties as official Knox County Fair veterinarian, Dr. Rob Krueger of the Mount Vernon Animal Hospital oversees the drug testing of all champion market animals at the fair.
“The Ohio Department of Agriculture through exposition rules requires the testing of the grand and reserve champions in the market classes,” Krueger said. “We do hair and urine testing of the animals.”
After competitions are completed, the samples are taken from the reserve and grand champions.
“All the animals at the fair tested negative,” said Krueger.
Rumors to the contrary are completely false, according to Krueger and Bruce Gregg, president of the Knox County Fair board of directors.
Some steers did have to be held for a few days before processing, because they were recently treated for a mild fungal infection. Fair officials held the animals to ensure enough time had passed to allow the medication to leave the animals’ systems before processing them.
Gregg said all exhibitors are cautioned to give their animals legal medications only within the time limits which would make them safe at processing. Checking the withdrawal time of medications and disclosing that on a Drug Usage Notification Form is the exhibitor’s responsibility. The holding of the steers until the Monday following fair was to ensure safety to anyone consuming the meat.
“The withdrawal date ended up being the Monday following fair,” Gregg explained. “Ideally, it’s before the fair, but the animal had to be treated.”
Krueger explained the process of keeping animals infection-free during the fair.
“We’re working from the first day of fair to prevent any infectious disease from entering the fairgrounds,” he said. “Then our responsibility is ensuring there’s not an infectious outbreak at the fair. Twice daily we do walkthroughs at the fair to check for any problems, and treat them.”