CLENBUTEROL SCANDALS STILL SURFACING
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1995:
SAN FRANCISCO––Five months
after Humane Farming Association investiga-
tor Gail Eisenitz disclosed through the
December 1994 edition of ANIMAL PEO-
P L E a year-long series of USDA, U.S.
Customs Service, and Food and Drug
Administration raids on veal industry facilities
in at least five states, seeking an illegal live-
stock growth stimulant called clenbuterol,
related scandals continue to surface.
Hard to detect, until the recent
development of a test that finds traces in a
slaughtered animal’s retinas, clenbuterol
residues in meat can be lethal to humans.
Among the newly revealed cases:
• Clenbuterol was found in a black-
faced lamb exhibited by Brian Wade Johnson,
22, of Gotebo, Oklahoma, who was named
the Future Farmer Association’s American
Star Farmer of 1994 even as ANIMAL PEO-
P L E went to press with Eisenitz’s findings.
The lamb was Grand Champion at the North
American International Livestock Expo, held
last November in Louisville, Kentucky.
• Two other winning entrants at that
fair tested positive for clenbuterol, including
the reserve champion steer exhibited by Hilary
Wise, 17, of Brownwood, Texas. Wise,
who had the grand champion steer at the
American Royal fair in Kansas City in 1993,
had a steer disqualified at the Royal this year
because the animal’s leg had been cosmetically
improved with twine, glue, and paint.
• 15 people, including five profes-
sional livestock exhibition groomers, have
now been indicted, and nine to date convict-
ed, in connection with clenbuterol-related
tampering at the Ohio state fair last August.
• Clenbuterol was found in six of
the 38 animals tested after the Tulsa State Fair
• Clenbuterol was found in a cham-
pion hog at the American Royal exhibition in
Kansas City last November.
• Clenbuterol was found in both the
top steers at the National Western Stock Show
in Denver in March, including one exhibted
by Ryan Rush, 16, of Crockett, Texas––
whose mother, Cherie Carraba, publishes a
livestock show magazine and had editorialized
in favor of drug testing at stock shows. She
and her husband admitted responsibility.
• John P. Murray, DVM, 48, of
Oxbox, Saskatchewan, was arrested at
Northgate, North Dakota, and arraigned on
March 30 for alleged clenbuterol trafficking.
“We see him as a major supplier of the stature
of Dr. Thomas,” an investigator told
Hendricks of The Kansas City Star, referring
to Charles Thomas, DVM, of Fort Dodge,
Iowa. Thomas was recently convicted of sell-
ing at least $60,000 worth of clenbuterol over
the past three years in four Midwestern states.
The alleged source of some of the clenbuterol
found in the Ohio and Denver fair cases,
Thomas was training to become a federal meat
Murray’s arrest came one day after
Brad Miller, national director of HFA, asked
U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno to make
clenbuterol abuse by the veal industry an
investigative priority, pointing out that
although the FDA learned in 1989 that the
drug was used by Vitek, a major veal formula
supplier, action against Vitek didn’t begin
until 1984. Meanwhile, use spread to other
firms. Even after the federal crackdown
began, as ANIMAL PEOPLE detailed in
December, investigating agents cooperated
with the American Veal Association to keep
use by vealers out of the headlines.
Clenbuterol use is also under inves-
tigation abroad. Belgian police and pharma-
ceutical inspectors on March 10 raided 82
Flanders veterinary facilities in search of clen-
buterol and other illegal livestock drugs. The
raids followed the February 20 murder of ani-
mal health inspector Karel Van Noppen, who
was probing the “hormone mafia.” On March
16 the European Parliament asked the
European Union to more closely regulate live-
stock drugs, via import controls, compulsory
registration of possession and use, restriction
of use to approved veterinarians, formation of
an international data base to assist in related
law enforcement, and establishment of stiff
penalties for violations. The same sources
involved in the Belgian traffic are believed to
be the major suppliers to the U.S.