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Doping ‘scandal’ spares award-winning lamb from slaughter

A prize-winning lamb is shown in this July 13, 2013 file photo.
A prize-winning lamb is shown in this July 13, 2013 file photo. AP Photo/The Independent, Kevin Goldy

An award-winning lamb has earned a stay of execution thanks to a doping scandal in Ohio.

The lamb was named grand champion at the Logan County Fair earlier this month — an honour that would normally put it on the fast-track to the slaughterhouse as a prime source of meat.

However, veterinarians with the Ohio Department of Agriculture say the lamb had illicit drugs in its system, making it unsafe for human consumption.

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The drug wasn’t designed to make the animal run faster or jump higher. Instead, it was a diuretic that caused the animal to lose water weight, leaving its muscles leaner to the touch.

“We don’t know how it got there, and we may never know,” Dr. Tony Forshey, the state’s top veterinarian, told WCMH News. “Diuretics tend to somewhat dehydrate the animal. It makes the muscles stronger, feel tighter and it’s just an unfair advantage.”

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He added that regardless of how the animal was doped up, it’s the owner’s responsibility to make sure it stays clean.

“More importantly is the food safety aspect,” Forshey said. “We don’t want any of these animals going into the human food chain that carry adulterated products.”

The lamb is still expected to go to market, but it’s being held until the drugs leave its system.

In other words, the lamb’s performance-enhancing drug might have extended its life.

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