New Ohio livestock exhibition rule addresses drug tolerance levels

By Matt Reese

Livestock exhibitors at Ohio’s fairs have long been held to a higher standard than the rest of the livestock industry when it comes to acceptable tolerance levels of approved drugs in the animals’ systems.

“For years, it’s been zero tolerance of approved drugs that’ve been found in the livestock exhibition animals and those kids are penalized for that. So, we really looked at this as an opportunity for us to really get our exhibitions on the same guidelines as the rest of the livestock industry rather than heavy penalties because we were still at that zero-tolerance level,” said Roger High, Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Livestock Policy. “I was appointed to a subcommittee, which really went through the rules to make sure that they were good and sound, not only in science, but also to benefit livestock exhibitors as well as our member across the state.”

With recommendations from the subcommittee, changes were made to sections of the Ohio Revised Code, implemented in May, to address these concerns raised by livestock exhibitors and Ohio Farm Bureau. The changes allow livestock exhibitors to administer drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration according to the Food Animal Residue Avoidance and Depletion Program (FARAD) Tolerance Guidelines for use in livestock as needed to exhibition animals. This aligns Ohio’s exhibition animal standards with the rest of the livestock industry instead of the previously required zero tolerance.

“We’re still going to be highly recommending that they have the veterinary client patient relationship for any medications. The veterinarian has to give them the approved medications that they could use on those 4-H and FFA livestock animals. They still have to follow all of the other guidelines within the Ohio Revised Code. The main thing is if there is a positive medication test from those animals, they will be looking at those from the Food and Drug Administration levels versus the zero tolerance, which is going to be a benefit to a lot of our producers. It really puts them on the same plane as the rest of the livestock industry across the state,” High said. “For the animal’s welfare, if there’s a fever or an illness or something that can be corrected with a with a legal medication, then they ought to be able to do that. If there is not an established tolerance level from FDA or FARAD for a species, then they will remain at zero tolerance.”

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