BVA calls for crackdown on show cheats

Earlier this year, the BVA Animal Welfare Foundation highlighted the need for a crackdown on illegal malpractice at shows after an investigation highlighted welfare concerns.

Areas of concern identified
Various areas of illegal manipulation were identified, all of which represent a breach of the Animal Welfare Act and could carry a six-month prison sentence. They include:
• Preventing milk leakage – some people were reportedly using teat sealants or superglue, or addicting cows to oxytocin.
• Filling the udder with gas and then sealing the bag.
• To ensure a smooth junction between the udder and body wall, some inject cattle with a foreign material such as silver protein. This causes an oedematous reaction to smooth the join.

The extent of the problem
The BVA’s Andrew Praill said it was a “vociferous minority” involved and that problems at last year’s Dairy Event and Livestock Show had been a catalyst for further investigation.

What needs to be done
• The BVA said there was a real need for consistency in breed showing rules.
• Ultrasounding udders, blood- testing or stripping cows in the show ring to check they would release their milk could be used to identify any malpractice – something which was already possible under current show rules.
• A crackdown needed to come from show organisers and breed societies.

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