Guilt, Growth Hormones, and the Tour de France

bike-chainThere has been a lot of buzz around the blogosphere lately about the charges that the recent Tour de France winner, Alberto Contodor, tested positive for a controlled substance.  The substance in question is Clenbuterol HCl, a beta-androgenic agonist that is illegal in the U.S. and Europe.  This same chemical, however, is reportedly frequently found on feedlots nonetheless. The Clenbuterol is used for increased animal growth for show animals and, while illegal for farmed animals, is still often found in feedlots.  Clenbuterol is particularly known to be used to improve the quality of meat in veal calves. Clenbuterol is a growth hormone.

Guilty of Blood Doping?

While the amount of Clenbuterol found in Contodor’s blood was so microscopic that it is doubtful it could have had any performance enhancing properties, it still may have violated the rules of the road. According to the World Anti-Doping Code:

2.1.1 It is each Athlete’s personal duty to ensure that no Prohibited Substance enters his or her body. Athletes are responsible for any Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers found to be present in their Samples. Accordingly, it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence or knowing Use on the Athlete’s part be demonstrated in order to establish an antidoping violation under Article 2.1.

According to Contodor, he took no known substance knowingly, but did ingest some animal flesh that may have been contaminated with Clenbuterol when someone brought meat across the border from Spain into France and he ate that meat. But unknowingly ingesting the substance will not expiate Contodor’s possible guilt  ”In any of the anti-doping programs, including at the professional level, athletes are responsible for what goes in their bodies,” said U.S. Anti-Doping Agency president Travis Tygart in an interview last week unrelated to Contador. “Otherwise you’d have every person playing sports attempting to make that claim.”**

Is Contodor Guilty? Of Animal Cruelty, Yes

With the extensive use of chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics in animal agriculture, it would prove prudent for an athlete to ingest an all plant-based diet. Brendan Brazier, author of Thrive Fitness and creator of Vega nutritional supplements, ascribes to a vegan lifestyle and has found it to improve his overall fitness. One thing is certain, whether Contodor is guilty of blood doping or not, he is definitely guilty of creating a demand for animal flesh, which in turns creates endless hours of suffering and torment for the animal whose body was used for the pleasure of his palate. Clenbuterol is often used to increase the quality of veal, a product which results from the separation of a mother and her infant, the torment of both animals, and the confinement and cruel death of the young calf. With animal agriculture leading to global warming, noxious air quality, water contamination, habitat destruction, animal suffering and death, there are more reasons than avoiding false positives on blood doping tests to give the nasty stuff up as too toxic and too immoral to ingest.

Alberto Contodor: Time to go vegan. Way, way past time.

Addtional articles:

**NY Daily News