An award-winning lamb has been stripped of its title – after vets found it had been pumped with the sort of performance-enhancing drugs usually associated with sport.
The champion animal took the prestigious top prize at the annual Logan County Fair in Ohio with judges apparently impressed by its lean muscle tone.
But when authorities ran blood and urine tests, they found traces of a diuretic – a substance that helps sharpen muscles and is banned in American livestock competitions.
“We don’t know how it got in there, and we may never know,” Dr Tony Forshey, the Ohio Department of Agriculture state vet, told the NBC TV network. “But it’s the exhibitor’s responsibility to present an animal to the fair for competition that’s free of all of those.”
An animal that has diuretics in its system cannot be eaten as the drug contaminates the meat for human consumption, he added.
The lamb itself was reportedly reared and shown by a farming member of 4-H, a network of youth development organisations which generally have a focus on agriculture.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture said it was investigating.