CLENBUTEROL: Wisconsin moves to bust Vitek; Monfort will buy no show cattle
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1995:
Acting on the findings of an
18-month federal investigation, the
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture,
Trade, and Consumer Protection on
July 31 sued to dissolve the Vitek
Supply Corp., a subsidiary of the
Dutch veterinary pharmaceutical firm
Pricor. Pricor vice president Aat
Groenvelt founded the Provimi Veal
empire in 1962 and brought the prac-
tice of crating veal calves and milk-
fed lambs to North America.
The FDA received evidence
in 1989 implicating Vitek, Provimi,
and Pricor in smuggling and selling
the banned growth stimulant clen-
buterol, a synthetic steroid, but the
probe didn’t start until February 1994,
when U.S. Customs intercepted clen-
buterol and other illegal drugs e n
route to Vitek and alerted the USDA.
The case reached public
notice in December 1994, through the
work of Humane Farming Association
investigator Gail Eisenitz.
Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and
Pennsylvania are also involved, but
authorities have been quiet about the
extent to which veal sold to the public
may have been tainted with clen-
buterol, whose residues can cause a
racing heart rate, tremors, headaches,
dizziness, nausea, chills, and fever.
Responding to another clen-
buterol-related series of scandals,
involving drugged exhibition live-
stock, the USDA has ordered slaugh-
terhouses to test carcasses bought at
exhibitions for the presence of t
steroid. Monfort, formerly purchas-
ing about 1,000 prize-winning cattle a
year from Colorado county fairs,
announced on August 7 that it will
cease buying show cattle because of
the testing requirement.
Although the Monfort
slaughterhouse is among the biggest in
the world, killing 4,500 cattle daily,
“We just don’t have the facilities or
manpower to do that,”
spokesperson K.T. Miller.
The pullout knocks a hole in
the economic foundations of the
Colorado cattle exhibition circuit.