The state vets are always on hand at the N.C. State Fair to take a series of steps to ensure animals on the fairgrounds are healthy.
The petting zoo population and other critters that can be touched are required to have a certificate proving they were given a clean bill of health by a veterinarian at least 30 days, and no longer than 12 months, prior to the fair.
The exhibited animals -- the cattle, sheep, pigs and the like -- that compete for blue ribbons and prizes, must pass through a veterinary inspection station at a side entrance to the fairgrounds where vets poke, prod and scrutinize the livestock in a manner only the an airport security inspector could appreciate.
The vets even check the “World’s Largest Alligator” and Sampson, “The World’s Tallest Horse.” How tall is he?
“Very,” said Karen Beck, one of a team of state veterinarians overseeing the health checks on animals at the fair, adding that Sampson’s owner shared a secret. “He said, ‘Don’t tell anyone, but his name’s not really Sampson.’”
-- Mark Johnson