I know it’s still cold and white outdoors, but soon enough we will spot the babies of spring; among them the new foals and tiny calves, as they dance about in the sunshine with the unbridled joy that is inherent to all young creatures. That is unless you are a newborn calf destined for someone’s plate as a chunk of veal.
Veal calves are the victims of a system that deliberately raises sick, anemic animals for your dinner.
Male calves are taken from their mothers just a few hours after birth to be locked in 22-inch-wide crates, where they will stay until they are shipped off to slaughter. They are chained by the neck within the crate, unable to walk or even turn around. This cruel lack of exercise is what keeps the meat soft. These babies are kept in the dark to retard what the industry politely calls “crate struggling” – desperate efforts to escape their prison cells. Light increases the intensity of their struggles.
They will never enjoy water. “Milk-Fed” does not mean that the calves are receiving real milk. The calves live on an antibiotic-laced and iron deficient liquid (which keeps the animal anemic, producing the pale colored meat). Over one third of the veal calves sampled by The Humane Farming Association (recognized as the most effective force for the humane treatment of farm animals in the United States) tested positive for the highly toxic and illegal drug clenbuterol, which is used to reduce fat and build muscle. This so-called milk causes diarrhea, which in turn causes the calf to become dehydrated. In a futile attempt to quench his thirst, the baby laps up even more of his vile food supply, which brings on accelerated muscle/weight development.
The diarrhea and urine fall between the slats that constitute the floor of the veal crate. Often the calves develop lung disease from breathing in too much ammonia gas. These filthy living conditions are prime breeding ground for disease.
The daily doses of antibiotics and other drugs needed to keep these young bovine alive until they walk, more likely stumble, for the first time in their little lives, up the ramp and into the truck that will take them to slaughter, keep Big Pharma lobbying for the continued cruel treatment.
The HFA (Humane Farming Association) is calling on all of us to stop eating veal. It’s an appeal for a national boycott of an industry that cares naught for how the animals fare, and probably even less about how you are eating the meat that contains all of this poison. Do yourself and the baby cows a favor: Eat something else, something that won’t make you sick as well in the long run.
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.