Feds indict veal kingpins for banned drug

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1996:

MILWAUKEE––More than seven
years after the Food and Drug Administration
was first tipped that major U.S. veal producers
were illegally importing and using the banned
synthetic steroid clenbuterol to make calves
gain weight faster, federal indictments and
extradition papers were issued on November
22 against Gerard Hoogendijk, owner of the
Dutch agricultural pharmaceuticals firm Pricor
BV; Gerald L. Travis of Withee, Wisconsin,
owner of Travis Calf Milk Inc. in Neillsville,
Wisconsin; and Jan and Hennie Van Den
Hengel, owners of VIV Inc., a veal farm in
Springville, Pennsyvlania.
The indictments came four days
before John Doppenberg, president of Vitek
Inc., a Pricor subsidiary, was to be sentenced
on a June conviction for conspiracy, smuggling,
and selling unapproved animal drugs.

“Calves who were fed these growthenhancing
drugs were slaughtered and put on
grocery store shelves throughout America,”
said U.S. attorney Thomas Schneider.
Search warrants obtained in late
1994 by Humane Farming Association investigator
Gail Eisnitz say Doppenberg told a witness
that “the clenbuterol used by Vitek in its
animal feed is smuggled into the U.S. by
Gerard Hoogendijk, on his person, when he
enters the U.S. from the Netherlands.”
Vitek allegedly sold more than 1.7
million pounds of products containing clenbuterol
between April 1988 and April 1994.
An informant alerted the FDA in August 1989,
but a joint FDA/USDA probe went nowhere
until U.S. Customs intercepted a clenbuterol
shipment in February 1994.
Said HFA president Brad Miller,
“This drug scandal has shown us that nearly
all the major companies and players [in the
veal business] have been involved.”
Copies of warrants that Eisnitz forwarded
to ANIMAL PEOPLE indicate that
both Hoogendijk and Doppenberg were business
partners of Aat Groenvelt, who introduced
the use of the veal crate to North
America and popularized “milk-fed spring
lamb,” the meat of lambs raised in essentially
the same conditions as crated veal calves.
In a wholly separate but parallel
case, district judge Mary Fahy of Athlone,
Ireland, on October 21 fined four beef farmers
including Ronald Armitage record or nearrecord
amounts for illegally using clenbuterol.
Armitage also drew six months in prison,
appealed, and on November 19 had the sentence
doubled to 12 months. Three days later,
fellow farmer Michael Frisby, 52, drew 10
months for illegal possession of feed mixed
with clenbuterol and/or PCP, a tranquilizer
better known to illegal human users as “angel
dust.” Irish courts have now settled 36 such
cases, with 99 more pending, of which 54
involve clenbuterol, 27 involve hormones,
and 24 involve antibiotics. Twenty-six of the
cases involve two or more substances.

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