State fair: Livestock DNA to be tested
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP)--The Kansas State Fair will conduct DNA testing to ensure that the owners of top animals competing in the show rings are not trying to rig the contests.
The DNA tests will replace nose prints from the animals. The prints are sometimes of poor quality and hard to compare, The Hutchison News reported recently.
Hair follicles taken from beef cattle, sheep, meat goats and swine months before the competition will provide the genetic material needed to verify that animals nominated by their owners are the ones competing for ribbons and money, said Fair Manager Denny Stoecklein.
Officials with the Kansas Junior Livestock Show also plan to start using DNA testing, said Matt Teagarden, who serves on the show's executive board. The board was waiting for the fair to decide on the issue and will likely vote to approve DNA testing at its meeting in February, he said.
Stoecklein said the fair plans to check the identity of the top two species in each class. Teagarden said the livestock show also would test the top animals.
Both Teagarden and Stoecklein said cheating has not been a problem at previous shows.
"It's more of a device,'' Teagarden said. "The 4-Her or FFA member is part of a project to manage that animal and that is why we go through the process of having a nomination deadline--having some kind of trigger there that the animal the kids started with is the actual animal the kids have at the show,'' he said.
It keeps youth on a "level playing field,'' he added.
Debbie Anderson, competitive exhibits director for the fair, said the costs to nominate an animal for competition will rise to $8 from $6.