Federal grand jury indicts top veal feeder REND LAKE, Illinois– – C h i c a g o Animal Rights Coalition president Steve Hindi, a licensed pilot, on December 16 startled the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, hunters culling deer at the Renn Lake Wildlife Refuge, and fellow protesters by soaring up in a paraglider to videotape the action from above––as deer fled from the sound of the aircraft, away from the hunters. “This is going to change everything,” Hindi told ANIMAL PEOPLE. “Air power revolutionized warfare, and it’s going to revolutionize protest. No longer can the DNR and the hunters hide anything from us.” Hindi’s flight was brief, due to technical problems with the brand-new equipment. By the time repairs were made, the wind had become too strong to attempt further flights. However, Hindi said, CHARC expects to have two paragliders in the air over future major events, each able to stay aloft for two hours at a time. The only significant problem, he reported, is that he’s put so much time into developing the CHARC remote video and airborne capabilities that fundraising has lagged. National activist groups make extensive use of the CHARC videos, but none have funded the equipment acquisitions. [Support for CHARC may be addressed to POB 66, Yorkville, IL 60560.] Ironically, the Rend Lake protest was backed by deer hunters who believed the cull was unethical. “I couldn’t believe how well we were treated by most of the local hunters,” Hindi said. Local hunters and activists joined on the night of December 14- 15 to drive hundreds of deer out of the Rend Lake refuge before the cull hunters were allowed in. Noise grenades set off by alarm clocks kept the deer from returning to the refuge during the three-day hunt. In consequence, Hindi said, the cull hunters killed only eight or nine deer total, compared with an expected bag of 12-plus deer per day. “It was a complete defeat for the DNR,” Hindi said. Steve Hindi and Dan Green: the Flying CHARC Squadron: ILLEGAL DRUG MAY HAVE TAINTED MEAT

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1996:

MILWAUKEE––In the first of an expected series of indictments striking at the
brain trust and bankroll of the crate-raised veal and milk-fed spring lamb industries, a federal
grand jury empaneled in Milwaukee on December 6 charged the Vitek Supply Corporation,
Vitek president Jannes Doppenberg, and Vitek office manager Sherry Steffen with 12 counts
of conspiracy, smuggling unapproved drugs into the U.S., and illegally adding the drugs to
feed mixtures told to veal and lamb producers throughout the country.
A prepared statement from U.S. Attorney Thomas P. Schneider said, “It is alleged
in the indictment that the unapproved drugs were shipped to feed companies and growers in
Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Over 1.7 million
pounds of Vitek product containing unapproved drugs, valued at over $1.3 million dollars,
were sold by Vitek between 1988 and April 1994.”

Three drugs were involved,
explained Schneider. Clenbuterol, a banned
but still popular synthetic steroid growth
enhancer, has also been at the center of
recent livestock show and horseracing scandals.
“Clenbuterol has been associated with
the acute poisoning of humans who consumed
meat from clenbuterol-fed animals,”
Schneider said. In Spain, clenbuterol tainting
of veal and calf’s liver caused 135 people
to be hospitalized in 1990, and another 140
people suffered dizziness, heart palpitations,
breathing difficulty, shakes, and headaches
from a similar incident in February 1994.
The second unapproved drug,
Avoparcine, is “an antibiotic, which through
uncontrolled use, may result in strains of
bacteria resistant to other antibiotics,”
according to Schneider.
The third drug, actually a drug family,
includes Furaltadone, furazolidona, and
nitrofurazone, “all members of a class of
compounds referred to as nitrofurans,”
Schneider said. “Though previously
approved, since January of 1992, all three
drugs have been unapproved due to substantial
evidence that they are carcinogenic.
The indictments are a milestone for
the San Francisco-based Humane Farming
Association and HFA chief investigator Gail
Eisnitz, who found out about the illegal use
of clenbuterol in the veal industry in early
1994, and has been working to expose it ever
since.
Biggest drug case “This is the livestock industry’s
largest illegal drug case ever,” Eisnitz told
ANIMAL PEOPLE. “It only confirms what
we’ve been saying all along: that the illegal
use of powerful and potentially deadly drugs
is endemic within the veal industry.”
Clenbuterol is used to make confined
calves and lambs gain muscle mass
even though they get no exercise. Strong
antibiotics are used to try to curb the chronic
inflections and diarrhea that afflict calves and
lambs who never go outside and may not
even get colostrum from their mothers’ milk.
The real significance of the
December 6 indictments is that Vitek and
Doppenberg are not only important figures
within the veal business, they’re part of the
interlocking chain of companies that forms
the central part of the vealing infrastructure.
Search warrants executed in connection
with the case in September 1994
establish a direct business relationship
between Doppenberg and Aat Groenvelt, the
Dutch immigrant who founded the Provimi
veal empire in 1962, introduced the use of
the veal crate to North America, and created
a market for “milk-fed spring lamb,” starting
slightly later in the 1960s.
Groenveldt today is not only president
of Provimi, but also vice president of
Pricor Inc., the Dutch-based veterinary pharmaceuticals
firm of which Vitek is a subsidiary.
The September 1994 search warrants
place Groenvelt, Doppenberg, Pricor
president Gerard Hoogendijk, and other
influential people in the veal industry together
during high-level meetings at which the
use of clenbuterol was allegedly discussed.
Various federal law enforcement
agencies already had a considerable amount
of evidence linking clenbuterol to veal and
lamb feed when Eisnitz was tipped off that
no one seemed to be bringing it together.
Kansas lamb grower Stephen Beal was
allegedly introduced to the illegal use of
clenbuterol through Doppenberg in late 1988,
while a partner of Hoogendijk and Groenvelt
under the business name Provi-Lean. He
reported the matter to the Food and Drug
administration in August 1989, but there was
apparently little serious investigation before
February 1994, when U.S. Customs traced
illegal veterinary drug imports to Vitek.
HFA shines spotlight
The probe gained priority after
Eisnitz was alerted by a friend who works for
the USDA that it would take exposure and
public pressure to insure that the government
followed up the implications of the evidence.
Over the next year, Eisnitz criss-crossed the
nation, picking up, copying, and distributing
affidavits and search warrants.
“First we uncovered and documented
the federal investigation and exposed this
international scandal in the media,” she said.
“Then we gathered our own concrete evidence
of widespread clenbuterol use, which
we turned over to federal authorities in
Milwaukee. Then we mobilized support,
generating thousands and thousands of letters
to Attorney General Janet Reno’s office,
demanding that Clenbuterol smugglers and
distributors be prosecuted like the drug king
pins they are.”
Transactions recorded in the indictment
issued December 6 indicate the scale of
the Vitek operations involving illegal drugs.
Eight times between August 5, 1988, and
February 16, 1989, or slightly more often
than once a month, Vitek imported anywhere
from 75 to 600 kilograms of substances
containing clenbuterol. Outgoing
product covered by the indictment includes
454 tons of feed containing clenbuterol,
worth $434,784. The total volume of unapproved
and/or misbranded animal drugs identified
as having been sold by Vitek comes to
866 tons, worth $1.3 million.
“If convicted,” said Schneider,
“Vitek faces fines up to $500,000 on each of
six counts, and fines up to $10,000 on each
of five counts. Both Doppenberg and Steffen
face up to five years incarceration, a $25,000
fine, or both, if convicted of the conspiracy
alleged in count one of the indictment. The
smuggling-related offenses charged in counts
two through six each carry up to five years
incarceration, a $250,000 fine, or both.”
Additional counts could add as much as three
years incarceration and a fine of $10,000 per
conviction.
Collapse of industry?
“What we are witnessing,” predicted
HFA national director Bradley Miller, “is
the collapse of the veal industry, an industry
that as far as we are concerned, more closely
resembles a criminal enterprise than it does
an agricultural commodity group. The veal
industry’s disregard for animal suffering is
only surpassed by its disregard for the health
and safety of consumers.”
“The December indictments mark
the beginning of the end for the anemic veal
industry,” Eisnitz agreed, anticipating that
the ripple of public attention to the case thus
far will build into a wave of concern among
consumers as more indictments are issued
and high-profile convictions are secured.
“While the recent indictments represent
a significant development,” Eisnitz
predicted, “they are just the tip of the iceberg
in regard to the veal industry’s use of clenbuterol
and other toxic drugs.”

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