Stampede disqualification of champion steer upheld for banned substance

CALGARY – It’s not exactly a case of steeroids, but a review has upheld the suspension of a championship steer at this year’s Calgary Stampede for the use of banned substances.

Drug testing of the top two steers in the July 13 Steer Classic Competition revealed the presence of two separate drugs, Ibuprofen and Flunixi, in the 2013 winner.

The animal was immediately disqualified and a review by Stampede’s Agriculture Review Panel released Wednesday agreed with the original ruling.

The two non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs that were detected are prohibited in any quantity under event rules.

The rules state all animals are to be presented without any alterations to their physiological state and free of violative drug residues because the competition is designated “terminal,” meaning the champion steer enters the food system.

“This was a serious, yet simple issue,” said Paul Rosenberg, vice-president of programming at the Stampede.

“The steer was disqualified for a violation relating to two separate drugs within the animal’s system. It’s our responsibility to facilitate a fair competition with high ethical standards for our human participants and high quality care for all animals.”

The panel found that the rules were explicit and clear, the drug testing protocols were valid and the tests did reveal the presence of the two drugs.

“We’ve addressed a number of issues over the last few weeks including a review of our drug testing protocols that verified three important things: the testing methodology used is appropriate for bovine, blood sampling is valid for drug residue detection and cross-contamination did not occur,” said Rosenberg.

“After reviewing the key elements of the decision, we are very confident with the original disqualification.”

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.