Clenbuterol, Calves, Horses, Humans

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Clenbuterol, Calves, Horses, Humans

Clenbuterol, Calves, Horses, Humans

From James McWilliams
October 2012

When the vet expressed his opinion that the special feed being given to the veal calves contained clenbuterol – not only to turn calf fat into muscle, but to turn the flesh white – the vet was dismissed from the USDA. Clenbuterol is banned for humans use. Evidently, this vet had gotten a little too close the truth.

I spent much of the morning on the phone interviewing a former USDA veterinarian who was fired for asking the wrong questions. This individual’s job was to evaluate veal calves before they went to slaughter. If a calf was having a hard time breathing, experiencing tightening around the neck, or showing exposed sutures from a recent operation, this vet would pull the calf aside and run a series of tests. Human safety was his concern.

At one point in time, he noticed a disturbing pattern. Calves were showing up “looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Calves that should have weighed 180 lbs. were weighing in at 225-230 lbs, and they were ripped. The vet was told by his bosses that the Amish farmers who were raising the calves were feeding them a “special feed.” The vet became suspicious, noting that his bosses “must have believed in the Easter bunny” if they thought this was normal. He had once worked at a race track in upstate New York and recalled how horses would show up bulging with recent musculature. Soon it was revealed that the horses were being injected with clenbuterol in order to expand lung capacity in the last 100 yards of a race. The drugs had been smuggled in from Canada.

When the vet expressed his opinion that the special feed being given to the veal calves contained clenbuterol – not only to turn calf fat into muscle, but to turn the flesh white – the vet was dismissed from the USDA. Clenbuterol is banned for humans use. Evidently, this vet had gotten a little too close the truth.

Welcome to the regulatory apparatus designed to keep meat eaters safe. The lesson, if you eat animal products, should be clear: the organizations that you’re asked to trust are simply not to be trusted. The response, whether or not you care to engage the ethics of animal agriculture, should also be clear: stop eating animal products. That’s the best regulation you can get.



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