Calf in a Veal Crate
As it is sure to invariably find itself in the news, the ironically named Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board issues a final ruling on veal crates: allowed/not allowed- a.k.a., “phased out.” At issue was a March reversal on an agreement the Board had made with the Humane Society and other groups last year. They reneged on phasing out the veal crates. They have since upheld the original agreement after pressure to initiate a ballot measure on the part of the animal welfare groups.
From a Humane Society press release on April 5, 2011,
The agreement stipulates that all calves must be kept in group housing starting in 2017, which mirrors a 2007 pledge by the American Veal Association. In November 2010, the Livestock Board voted that all calves regardless of age must have the ability to turn around.
What this means is that until 2017, baby cows up to 10 weeks of age can be kept in crates which prohibit the cow from turning around. Then, for the next 10 weeks the cow is kept tethered in a group housing environment, before he is promptly killed. After 2017, all baby cows would be prohibited from being crated in such a manner, and would also be prohibited from being tethered- before they are killed at 20 weeks. Victory? For whom?
In case you’re unaware, livestock farmers like to crate baby cows in such a way so as to make their meat more appetizing to consumer’s tastes. Also, allowing the babies the ability to freely move and mingle with other cows, exposes them to possible injury resulting from common baby animal behaviour, such as nibbling/biting, falling, and being gross in general. They’re babies. They miss their mama. They want to explore and grow. This vote by the Board continues the practice of veal production in Ohio, but in 6 years the cows will spend all 20 weeks of their life un-tethered, in a crowded, dirty barn with all the other babies resultant from milk production, pumped up with antibiotics. Veal will still be produced, calves will still be killed, mother cows will still be impregnated to make milk for babies they won’t raise. Just no crates and ropes. “Happy meat,” right?
As an aside, I’m talking Ohio veal here- remember that Bob Veal is veal taken from calves slaughtered at just 5 days old.
Make real change to really help domesticated farm animals- reject the use of sentient beings as food.