“Every year 1 million five-day old calves are slaughtered to supply the veal market.”
This is a 2008 ad by Animal Liberation in Australia that I found pretty dramatic. Did you know that the veal industry is a result of the dairy industry? Well, like other mammals, a cow will only produce milk once she’s given birth. Makes sense, nature has a nasty habit of doing things completely right without the need for human intervention. But we couldn’t exploit the cows if we just let them produce milk in natural cycles, so we impregnate them (over and over again, in unnatural cycles) to keep them producing milk- for their babies, which we take away from her (we wouldn’t want all that milk going to just her baby and not a large corporate grocery store now would we?) and if we can’t use the cows (meaning if they aren’t girls who can start the cycle over again), we chain them into a veal crate so that they can’t move (hey, no one likes tough veal). Then, we finally kill the calf.
Meanwhile the mother of the calf cries and searches for her lost young. Just like a human would if a human lost her child.
Do I sound bitter? Yeah, probably. I’m heartbroken for those poor mothers and children. No, they may not be the human variety, but that doesn’t mean that they matter any less. As a human, I am capable of moral and ethical choices. I am also capable of compassion. Indeed, it’s what makes me the superior species- if there could even be such a thing since I can’t fly, breathe under water, run 70 miles an hour, or any of the other amazing things non-humans can do.
And it’s exactly why I am vegan.
Incidentally, it surprises me sometimes when I read or hear that folks don’t (or didn’t) know the connection between dairy and veal. I don’t know why that it surprises me, I had to learn it, too- no judging here. So, for educational (and ironic) purposes, here’s what Veal – Wikipedia has to say:
Veal is the meat of young cattle (calves), as opposed to beef from older cattle. Though veal can be produced from a calf of either sex and any breed, most veal comes from male calves of dairy cattle breeds.
There are five types of veal:
- Bob veal, from calves that are slaughtered when only a few days old (70-150 lb.) up to 150 lb.
- Formula-fed (or “milk-fed”) veal, from calves that are raised on a milk formula supplement. The meat colour is ivory or creamy pink, with a firm, fine, and velvety appearance. They are usually slaughtered when they reach 18–20 weeks of age (450-500 lb).
- Non-formula-fed (“red” or “grain-fed”) veal, from calves that are raised on grain, hay, or other solid food, in addition to milk. The meat is darker in colour, and some additional marbling and fat may be apparent. Usually marketed as calf, rather than veal, at 22–26 weeks of age (650-700 lb).
- Rose veal UK is from calves reared on farms in association with the UK RSPCA’s Freedom Food programme. Its name comes from its pink colour, which is a result of the calves being slaughtered at around 35 weeks.
- Free-raised veal, The veal calves are raised in the pasture, have unlimited access to mother’s milk and pasture grasses. They are not administered hormones or antibiotics. These conditions replicate those used to raise authentic pasture-raised veal. The meat is a rich pink color. Free-raised veal are typically lower in fat than other veal. Calves are slaughtered at about 24 weeks of age.
The veal industry’s support for the dairy industry goes beyond the purchase of surplus calves. It also buys large amounts of milk by-products. Almost 70% of veal feeds (by weight) are milk products. Most popular are whey and whey protein concentrate (WPC), by-products of the manufacture of cheese. Milk by-products are sources of protein and lactose. Skimmed milk powder, casein, buttermilk powder and other forms of milk by-products are used from time to time.