Rapid progress against Dutch vealers

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2009:
AMSTERDAM–The Dutch animal advocacy organization Wakker
Dier–“Awake Animal”–appears to be quietly making unprecedented
gains against the crated veal industry in the nation where it
“Within six months of Wakker Dier launching a peaceful
company-targetted campaign against ‘pale veal’–produced by keeping
male calves penned up, fed on low-iron milk diets–nearly all Dutch
supermarkets have stopped selling it,” reported Adriana Stuijt for
Digital Journal on March 15, 2009.
Recently retired after covering public health for the
Johannesburg Sunday Times and the Rand Daily Mail in South Africa,
now living in Dokkum, The Netherlands, Stuijt found that 14 leading
Dutch supermarkets chains “have all undertaken to stop selling the
pale veal within the next few months, because the Wakker Dier
publicity campaign created a high level of consumer awareness, and
people stopped buying it.”

The Dutch veal firms Van Drie and Alpuro raise more than 1.5
million calves per year, Stuijt reported. Most are surplus from
Dutch dairy production–cows must give birth to give milk–but about
600,000 per year are imported at one week of age from dairy farms in
Poland and Lithuania. British farmers were allowed to resume selling
veal calves to the Nether-lands in 2006, after a 10-year suspension
meant to inhibit the spread of mad cow disease, but Britain remains
a minor supplier.
“A fifth of all the veal sold in Europe comes from Van Drie,”
Stuijt wrote. “Now this company has quit producing anaemic calves.
The other company will be forced to switch to pink veal as the
consumer demand for pink veal now grows dramatically.”
Founded in 1998 to oppose factory farming, Wakker Dier was
headed from 2004 to 2006 by Marianne Thieme, who in 2002 formed the
Dutch Party for the Animals, billed as the first pro-animal
political party in Europe. Wakker Dier previously waged successful
campaigns to persuade supermarkets to stop selling eggs from
battery-caged hens, and to stop selling meat from pigs who were
castrated without the use of anesthetic.
Dutch farmers began raising crated veal soon after World War
II. Dutch immigrant Aat Groenvelt in 1962 introduced veal crating to
North America, and also developed the market for “milk-fed spring
lamb,” a euphemism for lambs raised like veal calves. The company
Groenvelt founded, Provimi Veal, is now diversified under the name
Provimi Foods.
Belgian and Dutch police investigating the 1995 murder of
Belgian veterinary inspector Karel Van Noppen learned that Van Noppen
was shot because of his investigation of illegal traffic in
clenbuterol, a banned steroid often used to promote the growth of
crated calves and lambs. Four men were convicted of the Van Noppen
murder in 2002.
The investigation linked the Belgian and Dutch clenbuterol
traffic to illegal use of clenbuterol in Ireland and the U.S.–where
raids on vealers and feed distributors allegedly using clenbuterol
had been underway since 1994. Pressured to prosecute by the Humane
Farming Association, the U.S. Justice Department won at least five
convictions of U.S. veal industry leaders in connection with misuse
of clenbuterol. All were close associates of Groenvelt.

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