'Udder tampering' scandal hits farmers' show

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The Independent Online

A cow-doping scandal has rocked the world of Australian agriculture after two award-winning farmers were ejected from the Royal Queensland Show for "udder tampering".

The pair, together with two grooms, were disqualified after being caught injecting an unknown substance into their cows' udders to make them appear larger.

Security guards observed them performing "a suspicious act" on the udders of 15 Jersey and Holstein Friesian cows in the dairy pavilion at midnight. The animals were due to be exhibited the following morning.

Vivian Edwards, president of the Royal National Association, said: "It's beyond my comprehension that anyone would do this, but it's to enhance the performance, to make the udders bigger and more beautiful, and that's a plus in the judging criteria." Mr Edwards said other farmers were suspected of glueing cows' teats shut to prevent milk from leaking.

The episode is being investigated by the police drug squad. One of the farmers, Waylon Barron, 22, will appear in Brisbane magistrates' court later this month, charged with breaching hygiene laws by failing to dispose of a syringe.

Mr Edwards said that he hoped the firm action would serve as a warning to other farmers. "We strive to provide a level playing field, as they do at the Olympics," he said.