For the first time in the 155 year history of the Great Yorkshire Show investigations are underway into suspected tampering.
Investigations are under way into suspected tampering of two dairy animals at the show.
The action was prompted late yesterday afternoon following routine checks by vets acting for the show’s organisers, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS).
The owners of the animals in question have been informed about the investigations and substances which may contravene the YAS’s malpractice rules are being analysed.
Nigel Pulling chief executive of the YAS said: “It is a serious matter and we are taking it seriously.
“It is not something we want at the Great Yorkshire Show and we will do all in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen.”
Results of the tests are not expected to be confirmed for at least two weeks and the animals have been allowed to continue participating in the show.
Mr Pulling said: “We are not 100 per cent sure it is tampering at this stage but it was suspicious.”
He added: “We want a fair competition. It will be quite serious if it is proven, we will have to take serious action.
“We want to stamp this out, the other exhibitors want a fair playing field.”
Prize winners and reserve champions in each cattle class are scanned using ultrasound to check udders as a matter of routine, and are the subject of examinations by YAS vets after they depart the show rings.
Honorary show director Bill Cowling made the announcement at a press conference held at 3.30pm.
Mr Cowling said he could not comment on which particular animals were under scrutiny, but said it was the first time in the show’s 155-year history that such investigations had been put in motion. Scanning has been taking place at the show for the last three years.
Mr Cowling said: “It’s shown up in the veterinary examination but there are further tests and diagnostic analysis to carry out so that is our next step and that’s going to take time.
“If this (tampering) was confirmed by the analysis, we would take action which is appropriate but that animal would certainly be stripped of its winning and I would certainly expect the exhibitors would be banned from exhibiting at the show.”
He added that if a winner was found guilty of an offence in any class the prize would not be handed down to the runner-up.
Mr Cowling would not be drawn on the nature of the suspected tampering. He said: “We know what sort of tampering it was but I don’t want to expose that. We have evidence from our vets which needs examination and that will yield results that will point us in the next direction that we will go.”
Asked whether the episode cast a cloud over the show, Mr Cowling said: “I think it’s positive that we are taking some action. It’s something that is perceived to be a problem and it has to be addressed.”