AR-News: (MN) Family says growth enhancer an accident

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Thu Oct 16 12:25:25 EDT 2003


http://webstar.postbulletin.com/agrinews/278891018182106.bsp

Thursday, October 16, 2003 
DES MOINES (AP) -- The father of a 16-year-old Montezuma youth whose 4-H 
steer was disqualified at the Iowa State Fair in August says traces of an illegal 
growth enhancer were found in the animal because of a mistake. 
Tyler Hartgers' father, Danny, told a hearing Tuesday that he mixed 
ractopamine into feed for Tyler's 4-H show pigs. He said he does not know how traces of 
ractopamine turned up in the steer's urine. 
"It was never intended to be fed to that steer," Danny Hartgers said. "This 
was just an honest mistake." 
Last month, the State Fair Board banned the Montezuma youth and another teen, 
Jenna Bristle of Ogden, along with their families from showing livestock at 
the State Fair for two years and took away ribbons and prize money they won 
this year because urine samples tested randomly from their animals allegedly 
showed traces of the growth enhancer approved for use in swine but not for cattle 
or sheep. Bristle had exhibited a lamb at the fair. 
Bristle's family is having an independent test of her lamb's urine, officials 
said, and will make a decision on whether to appeal the fair ban. 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 
have approved ractopamine, sold under the brand name Paylean, for use in swine 
but not in other animals. 
Tyler Hartgers' sister, Tiffany, 20, tearfully told the fair committee that 
she won't be able to show animals if the ban on the Hartgers family is not 
lifted. Next year will be her last year to show livestock before she reaches the 
age limit for youth livestock shows, she said. 
Tyler's mother, Vicky, said the ban has left her son heartbroken. 
Showing livestock "is all he does," she said. "He gave up all his school 
activities for this." 
Now, she said, Tyler's reputation has been spoiled by the allegations, and he 
may be banned from other livestock shows because of the actions of the fair 
board. 
Robert Schlutz of Columbus Junction, a member of the fair board, told the 
Hartgers that the board has had to clamp down on State Fair livestock shows 
because of continuing problems. 
"The end result is that the rules state that you can't have that drug in that 
particular animal," he said. "Five percent of the people cause the problems, 
so we've had to set up the rules they way we do." 
Last year, the fair board tried to disqualify the 4-H grand champion steer 
shown by Jenna Sievers of New Liberty because of questions about the animal's 
identity. Sievers and her parents appealed the disqualification, and the case 
goes before an administrative law judge in two weeks. 
The fair board last year ordered two-year bans against two 4-H sheep 
exhibitors after drug tests turned up traces of ractopamine. Similar bans were issued 
against two 4-H sheep exhibitors because of allegations about ownership 
irregularities. 
Denise Schwab, a 4-H official, said random drug tests are taken of steers, 
sheep, hogs and horses entered in 4-H shows at the State Fair. All champion and 
reserve champion animals also are tested, she said. 
"The random tests are meant to be a deterrent so 4-H'ers follow food safety 
laws," Schwab said. 
Fair manager Gary Slater said the competition committee will wait until the 
Hartgers have an independent urine test of Tyler's steer before the committee 
makes a recommendation on the appeal.   
 
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