4-H members enrolled in animal science projects (e.g., beef, camelids, dairy, dog, goat, horse, poultry, rabbit, sheep, small pet, and swine) shall, at all times, conduct themselves with honesty and good sportsmanship, including while with their projects and at all 4-H animal science activities and events. Their conduct should always reflect the highest standards of honor and dignity to promote the advancement of 4-H and its animal science program. 4-H members, as well as parents, UME volunteers and others working with them, are under an affirmative responsibility to do more than avoid improper conduct or questionable acts; and their conduct and values must serve as a positive influence on others.
This Code of Ethics applies to all 4-H members who are enrolled in animal science projects, and to others (4-Hers, parents, volunteers, owners, etc.) who participate in the animal science program; and it covers daily animal care, as well as participation in competition and other 4-H animal activities and events.
4-H members and others who violate this Code of Ethics demean the integrity of 4-H and its animal science program. 4-H members who violate the code of animal science ethics are subject to sanctions including, but not limited to, forfeiture of premiums, awards, and/or auction proceeds and may be prohibited from participation in 4-H or 4-H/UME events or activities; other violators may also be subject to sanction, as appropriate. Infractions may be reviewed by 4-H and/or UME (on the local or state level, as appropriate to the infraction and to the event and/or activity in question), and/or may be subject to a fair oversight committee or other entity that oversees an activity or event. In addition, some acts may also be subject to review based upon the Maryland 4-H Youth Code of Conduct and/or other UME policies.
The following is a list of standards and requirements for all 4-H animal science projects, at all times, whether at home, at animal exhibitions or events, or any other 4-H event or activity.
1. The care of all 4-H project animals is the responsibility of the 4-H member. 4-H members must properly care for and groom their animals for the duration of their project.
2. All project animals must be housed at the 4-H member’s residence unless a different location is submitted to and approved in writing by the local 4-H staff. Any change in location must be approved in writing by the local 4-H staff; however, it is not necessary to report direct transport to and from shows or other events.
3. Upon request of 4-H, UME, or other program, fair, event or animal officials, 4-H members must present proof of ownership, length of ownership, identity and/or age of all 4-H project animals owned or leased. Misrepresentation of ownership, age, or identity of animal, or any facts relating thereto is prohibited. If a 4-H project animal is sold in a livestock sale, it is no longer eligible to be shown in a 4-H event in Maryland in that year.
4. 4-H members must provide appropriate animal health certificates upon request of 4-H, UME, or other program, fair, event or animal officials.
5. 4-H project animals must be presented to competition, activities and/or events, where they will enter the food chain, free of volatile drug residues. Animals which are presented to competition, events and/or activities that do not culminate with the animal entering the food chain, shall not be administered drugs other than in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations and rules. 4-H project animals shall not be exhibited if drugs administered in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations and rules may affect the animal’s performance or appearance at the event. At any time after an animal arrives on a fair or other 4-H activity or event premises, a licensed veterinarian must administer or, in consultation with fair, event, UME, or 4-H officials, direct the administration of any treatments involving the use of drugs and/or medications. Drenching at any time after an animal arrives on a fair or other 4-H activity or event premises is prohibited, except when performed or directed by a licensed veterinarian in consultation with fair, event, UME, or 4-H officials for the sole purpose of protecting the health of the animal.
6. The act of enrolling in a 4-H animal science project, and/or entering a project animal in a 4-H competition, show, activity, or other event, gives consent for 4-H or UME or event authorities to obtain any specimens of urine, saliva, blood, hair, tissue, or other substance from the animal to be used for testing purposes including, but not limited to, drugs or identification. It is presumed that the sample of urine, saliva, blood or other substance tested by the approved laboratory to which it is sent is the one taken from the animal in question, its integrity is preserved, and all procedures of said collection and preservation, transfer to the laboratory and analysis of the sample are correct and accurate and the report received from the laboratory pertains to the sample taken from the animal in question and correctly reflects the condition of the animal at the time the sample was taken, with the burden on the 4-H owner to prove otherwise at any review in regard to the matter conducted by a fair or other event or the 4-H program. If the laboratory report on the chemical analysis of saliva, urine, blood, hair, tissue or other sample, taken from a 4-H animal science project, indicates the presence of forbidden drugs or medication, this shall be prima facie evidence such substance has been administered to the animal either internally or externally.
7. Any surgical procedure or injection of any foreign substance or drug or the external application of any substance (irritant, counter irritant, or similar substance) which could affect the animal's performance or alter its natural contour, conformation, or appearance, except external applications of substances to the hoofs or horns of animals which affect appearance only and except for surgical procedures performed by a duly licensed veterinarian for the sole purpose of protecting the health of the animal, is prohibited.
8. Using ice, ice packs, cold packs, or cold compresses, internally or externally, other than those prescribed to relieve heat stress or a medical condition as diagnosed by a duly licensed veterinarian for the sole purpose of protecting the health of the animal, is prohibited.
9. The use of showing and/or handling practices or devices, such as striking animals to cause swelling, using electrical devices, or other similar practices, are not acceptable and are prohibited.
10. All judges, fair and event officials and/or UME/4-H staff and volunteers shall be treated with courtesy, cooperation, and respect, and no person shall direct abusive or threatening conduct toward them or toward exhibitors or others participating in the activity. In addition, direct criticism or interference with a judge, fair, show or event official, exhibitor, breed representative, or UME/4-H staff or volunteer before, during, or after an event or other activity is prohibited.
11. No one shall violate this Code of Animal Science Ethics or conspire with another person or persons to intentionally violate this Code of Ethics or knowingly contribute or cooperate with another person or persons either by affirmative action or inaction to violate this Code of Ethics.
12. The application of this Code of Ethics provides for absolute responsibility for an animal's condition to the 4-H member whether or not he or she was actually instrumental in or had actual knowledge of the treatment of the animal in contravention of this Code of Ethics.
13. By enrolling in an animal science project and/or entering an animal in a fair or other 4-H event or activity, the 4-H member, and his/her parent or guardian, consent to have disciplinary action taken by appropriate authorities (including UME, 4-H, fair, event and/or other activity officials) for violation of this Code of Animal Science Ethics and/or any other applicable rules of UME, 4-H, a fair, activity or other event, without recourse against UME, 4-H and/or other authorities. In addition, the 4-H member, and his/her parent or guardian, further understand and agree that any action which contravenes these rules, and is also in violation of federal, state, or local laws, statutes, regulations, or rules, may be released to appropriate law enforcement authorities with jurisdiction over such infractions.