Calves Are Soul-less, Live Shorter Lives Than Flies

Home>Calves Are Soul-less, Live Shorter Lives Than Flies

Calves Are Soul-less, Live Shorter Lives Than Flies

By |October 6th, 2011|

Huffington Post Green* published an article titled, The Real Veal: Sourcing and Cooking Humanely-Raised Veal, penned by chef Kurt Michael Friese.  And good gravy, this article is a mess.

Friese makes the claim that one can still eat veal (baby calves) and still maintain your ethics (which ones he doesn’t specify).  The premise of his argument seems to be that if the veal (baby calves) are raised happily and at their parents side, then it’s okay to slaughter them for food.

I’ve talked about the oxymoron of happy meat before so I won’t go into that here.  The fact is, the longest that veal (baby calves) can expect to live happily next to their parents side is approximately 35 weeks- or, nearly 9 months.  The average time veal (baby calves) is kept alive is 24-26 weeks.  After that they are sent to slaughter.  That’s the best case scenario.  In some cases (1 million cases a year) veal, such as bob veal, are slaughtered at 5 days old.

Animal Liberation in Australia

“Every year 1 million five-day old calves are slaughtered to supply the veal market.”

The veal industry is a direct result of the dairy industry.  Like other mammals, a cow will only produce milk once she’s given birth.  In order to get a continuous supply of milk, farmers will repeatedly impregnate dairy cows (in high and unnatural cycles) to keep them producing milk- for their babies, which we take away to be used as veal.  Meanwhile the mother of the calf cries and searches for her lost young.  Just like a human would if a human lost her child.

I don’t see how any of that is ethical.  But Friese has the answer for that too.  In the comments he wrote:

Nature most certainly DID intend on having these and countless other “babies” taken from their mothers sides and killed for food. All predators do that. It’s just that most are not kind enough to let them have any semblance of a content and pain free life before they are taken.

I am a human, a member of the animal kingdom. I consider myself no better or worse, more or less important than any other animal. My body is designed to be an omnivore and so that’s what I am. I have no problem whatsoever with those of you who choose not to eat veal or to be vegetarian, or to be vegan. Good on ya, your life, do what you want. But I reject out of hand the constant berating I receive from evangelica­l vegans who believe I and a majority of the human race are hellspawn because we eat meat. It just ain’t so.

Look, in order for anyone to live, something has to die. You cannot prove that an animal has a “soul” or some such, just as you cannot prove that a plant does not. Unless we are going to reject ten millennia of agricultur­e and forage for all our food, we are going to raise that food ourselves on farms. We should treat it well, and then we should harvest it, so that we can feed our families and our communitie­s, whether that food is from the plant or animal kingdoms.

So there you have it.  Since we can’t prove that cows have a soul, we can pretty much do whatever the hell we want to them.  You’re just being evangelical to oppose such a thing.  And the most ironic part?  Friese telling us to treat the animals well.  If we were really treating the animals well, we would stop forcing repeated pregnancies on animals only to take the resulting children away and slaughtering them.  Further, humans aren’t predators when they breed, raise, and slaughter domesticated animals in captivity for food.

And just because- “soul” is defined as, “the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.”

*Running a pro-animal agribusiness piece on Huffington Post Green is ironic given that everyone knows by now that raising animals for food is one of the worst environmentally destructive things we are (still) doing today.

About the Author:

Founder & Creator of Your Daily Vegan. Twitter: @YourDailyVegan


  1. Peter August 15, 2012 at 7:57 am - Reply

    From my own personal experience, I know that animals do have souls. But even if they didn’t have souls, the eating of animal flesh is morally wrong. If beings from another technologically advanced world came and started eating human babies for food, would that be all right, just because we are less “developed” mentally?!

  2. Linda October 7, 2011 at 7:14 am - Reply

    That human beings have a soul is a Christian concept but in other religions or philosophies such as Buddhism it is the mind that is central to our being. Any creature that has “mind” is sentient and that includes all living things from the smallest of insects to humans.

    As sentient beings we all are equal and our human condition does not make us better or more superior than those that are not. In fact as human beings with the given ability to exercise free will we should be using that to benefit other sentient beings and show them love and compassion, not to harm them.

    All sentient beings are driven by the desire to live and to avoid pain and suffering. No sentient being willingly wants to die, no sentient being willingly wants to be sacrificed or to endure suffering for the benefit of other beings be that for food, clothing, entertainment or research.

    Regardless, animals do endure pain, and they do endure suffering. The extent to which they suffer at our hands for our benefit has been intensified with the introduction of intensive animal farming practices eg factory farming.

    Factory farming shows no care, no compassion, no respect. Factory farming is a production line approach to the breeding of animals for human consumption. It starts with the artificial insemination of the female and ends when the hunks of meat and packets of finely sliced meat that are displayed for sale in our stores. It is driven by profits and a get them in and get them out mentality which allows little room for care and compassion, for humane practices or respect for life.

    Each year 48 billion land animals and 46 billion birds eg chickens and turkeys are breed and slaughtered World wide for human consumption and this figure is on the rise with population growth and rising affluence.

  3. From A to Vegan October 6, 2011 at 9:28 pm - Reply

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  4. Brooke October 6, 2011 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    If nature intended human beings to be omnivores our closest relatives in the animal kingdom would be omnivores as well. Their not, apes for the most part are vegan. Numerous studies have shown that consuming meat is detrimental to our health. Moreover, in nature animals are not bred, given hormones or antibiotics and kept in captivity all for the benefit of one species.

  5. Dicus October 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    The “plants = animals” argument often raised by those who choose to eat meat as a reaction to logical arguments made by vegans and vegetarians is, quite frankly, garbage. If people engaged in a sincere analysis and determined that “I should eat meat because plants are living things too,” then they have chosen a false dichotomy they have created. If that is your only reason for choosing to eat meat, then you should eat fruit and seed-bearing vegetables instead. Over millennia, evolution has crafted many types of seed dispersal mechanisms, from light-weight winged seeds dispersed by the breeze like cotton to the ingenious co-opting of vertebrate movement. Fruit and vegetables that contain seeds, in many cases, exists for the consumption of vertebrates like us. When an organism incapable of travel reproduces, it faces the problem of having its offspring compete for the same resources it needs to survive. A solution of transporting seeds away from a parent’s own source of nutrients has come about many times in evolutionary history and in many different ways. The one relevant here is the development of a nutrient-dense body surrounding seeds. This body has evolved to entice other mobile organisms to eat it, travel out from the parent plant, and deposit the seeds a safe distance away. Some might think the fruit is intended to benefit the young plant that will spring from within, but in most cases it does not. Fruit has a good deal of sugar and other ingredients that creates a great medium for mold and fungus to grow. Also, the seeds themselves often contain all the nutrients it needs to germinate. Generally, the first step when germinating seeds is to remove them from the fruit or vegetable. There are examples where this is not true, but many fruit and vegetables only exist to lure vertebrates into consuming the fruit and transporting the seeds away from the parent plant. Some seeds even require the action of digestion in order to germinate. Some argue we were designed to eat meat, and so we must eat meat. Humans are one of the only mammals that cannot produce Vitamin C. A logical conclusion is that, at one point in our distant past, we subsisted on a diet rich in this essential nutrient and lost our ability to produce it over time. Many fruits and vegetables are rich in Vitamin C. This theory could provide evidence that at some point in our history humans were largely fruitivores. There are numerous debates about what our distant ancestors ate and didn’t eat, but if you are choosing to eat something for ethical reasons, they are largely irrelevant. If you truly examine your life and your food choices and decide eating meat and eating plants are the same because plants are living things capable of feeling pain, then your only real choice is to eat a diet of fruits and seed-bearing vegetables –not to eat meat as has become the fashionable thing to retort to those actually making sacrifices for their ethical beliefs. The conclusion to eat meat from this realization is utterly wrong. A person cannot examine the issue from an ethical standpoint and arrive at the conclusion that we should eat animals because plants are living creatures as well, when the logical conclusion is to eat only those things that plants themselves have deigned ours to savor.

  6. Ireene October 6, 2011 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    “Comparative anatomy works on the simple and demonstrable fact that the biological form usually defines function. Individual features, or species may break the rules, but a look at many factors will reveal a species true biological role. Certainly science does not really validate the typical vegan diet, as this serves cultural imperitives. Science provides us with an indicator of human nutrition which was not established by culture, but is certainly that of a herbivore or frugivore and not a carnivore or omnivore.”

  7. mary October 6, 2011 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    I disagree with Cara. What is wrong with treating animals kindly until they are slaughtered? Animals who give our bodies nourishment should be treated with respect. As a human , we have power over other animals. We are there to feed and care for them until their passing. Be it livestock for the purpose of food, or pets. Unnecessary harsh or bad treatment of food animals is just wrong. There should be accountable ethics when it comes to slaughter.

  8. Cara October 6, 2011 at 11:53 am - Reply

    Over here in Germany we say: There is no meat made from happy animals, only from dead ones.

    It is a tragedy that people see that this is all wrong stop at that point and go on as if this piece of information never reached them, in fact it is terrible that this is exactly the same all over the world.

    Greatings from Germany!

  9. Charlotte October 6, 2011 at 11:01 am - Reply

    It’d be nice if schools had some sort of mandatory class on the use of logic – this guy could definitely use a refresher. It doesn’t make any sense to say that “cows don’t have consciousness extending after death (and humans do, because we’re special), therefore it’s OK to mistreat them, kill them, and eat them, and then claim that they were happy in their lifetime to make ourselves feel good.”

    Why doesn’t he just admit that he eats veal because he likes the taste and doesn’t give a damn about cows or ethics?

  10. Jes October 6, 2011 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Oh man, the first time I was told what veal was, I cried for like an hour. My (then) boyfriend and I were driving home from college for the weekend, and we passed a field of cows, after which he explained to me what veal was. That was in my pre-gan days. It’s so horrible.

  11. Karmalily October 6, 2011 at 9:44 am - Reply

    The excuses people create to make themselves feel better about eating animals are utterly ridiculous. Whether or not the calfs are raised in a pen or “at their parent’s side” doesn’t matter; it is inhumane to kill animals. And it has nothing to do with the idea of a “soul.”

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