Great Yorkshire Show bosses investigate ‘despicable’ livestock tampering

Agricultural show organisers in Yorkshire have responded to reports of livestock tampering at this year’s event by calling the practice “despicable”.

Great Yorkshire Show bosses said they take tampering - when owners manipulate livestock to make them appear more healthy - very seriously and will disqualify anyone caught cheating.

Mandy Cameron of Queensbury washes her Highland bull, Flanchadh the First of Moorside, know to his friends as Frank.

Mandy Cameron of Queensbury washes her Highland bull, Flanchadh the First of Moorside, know to his friends as Frank.

Substances such as superglue can be applied to a cow’s udders to hide imperfections, or teats can be sealed so the animal carries more milk.

It is believed two cases are being investigated - the first time in the event’s 155-year history that such allegations have come to light.

Bill Cowling, honorary show director of the Great Yorkshire Show, described tampering to enhance cows’ udders as “heinous” and “despicable”.

He said: “For a number of years here at the Great Yorkshire we have carried out random scanning, we’ve never had cause to suspect anyone but no one is any doubt as to how serious we regard this.

“Should we ever find an animal had been tampered with for the judging ring, the owner would be instantly told to take no further part in our competitions and any prize money would be forfeited.

“We’ve never had cause to invoke this but we are not afraid to take firm action. Indeed in the past we have banned exhibitors for misdemeanours.”

He added: “We believe we are the only agricultural show in the UK to undertake scanning. It would be a great step forward if all shows could do the same but to be even more effective, the support of other exhibitors and also the breed societies to report anything suspicious is needed. Our industry is too precious to be underminded by cheats whose intention is to win at any cost, and with no concern for animal welfare.”

Each year the Great Yorkshire Show, which took place over three days this week, attracts around 1,000 cattle entries.