A representative of the biggest Spanish agricultural association ASAJA, Ramón Riestra, has supported Alberto Contador in his defense line regarding a positive anti-doping control for Clenbuterol at the Tour de France this year. The 2010 Tour winner claimed that his test result was the outcome of contaminated meat that had been bought in Spain.
Riestra now suported this explanation, telling AS.com that it was "more than possible" because great amounts of meat are imported from Sout America, where the fattening of cattle with Clenbuterol is not prohibited, unlike in Europe.
"I want to denounce that Spain imports Clebuterol-contaminated meat coming from South America and that Contador is only a scapegoat," Riestra said.
"The European Union has signed an agreement with Mercosur, South America's common market, to import 20 million tons of meat over three years for the 27 European countries. Spain, which is meat-deficient, receives a minumum of two million tons. And in South America, it is not prohibited to fatten cattle with Clenbuterol."
Of course, imported meat has to undergo sanitary controls in Europe, but Riestra said these were insufficient and ineffective. "I'd like to see those controls. It's really easy. They send a first, correct lot and then, after the controls, the full package. Or they fix it with a bribe. I had a relative who was working as sanitary inspector and he told me there was nothing to do."
Riestra continued by explaining that Contador could have been contaminated with the forbidden substance if he ingested beef bought in the border region between Spain and France. "It's more than possible. One of the main entry ports for this meat is in Saint Jean de Luz, a French town very close to Irún [where the contaminated meat was allegedly bought - ed.]. It wouldn't be uncommon at all that some meat market in Irún would sell this meat."
The Spaniard added that the situation was detrimental to the domestic agriculture. "We have to pass three controls each year. They blood-test every animal. Everything has to be correct and we are in an inferior position compared to the Mercosur countries that have between 600 and 700 million animals. We told the authorities that this would result in a mess, but they are city people that have no idea of agriculture, nor ecology."