- Veal has typically been raised in states with dairy farms. Today, you can find most veal farms in the Midwest and Northeast.
- Veal farmers purchase dairy calves (primarily male Holstein calves) at about 100 pounds live weight and raise them for approximately 18-20 weeks until they weigh upward of 475-500 pounds.
- A typical veal farm is a small family farm that raises approximately 200 calves.
- Formula-fed veal farming contributes $650-$700 million annually to the U.S. economy, and $250 million to the dairy sector through purchases of dairy byproducts and calves.
- Veal farmers raise calves in barns, where they are protected from weather, predators and disease.
- Veal barns have overhead artificial lighting or receive natural sunlight through windows. Producers house their calves in properly lit barns to make it possible to monitor the calves regularly, feed them and keep them clean. Typical veal barns are also heated during cold months and have year-round ventilation to provide clean, fresh air.
- Many farmers have adopted group housing methods to provide the same level of individual care as in traditional barns.
- Individual housing in a modern veal farm allows animals to receive their own feed, individual care and attention.
- Individual stalls maximize the quality of individual care farmers and veterinarians can give the calves. Also, most importantly, minimizing calf-to-calf contact is the best prevention against disease.
- Calves in individual housing can comfortably lie down in a natural position, stand up, groom themselves and interact with neighbors.
- In individual pens, calves can stretch without fear of other calves stepping on them.
- Modern veal production utilizes an "all in/all out" standard - a herd-health measure that limits the calves' exposure to disease.
- Typical veal farms are family-run and have adopted animal husbandry practices recommended by veterinarians and leading animal scientists. Those farms also use modern technology and best management practices to provide proper nutrition to calves.
- Veal calves receive diets designed to provide all of the 40 essential nutrients they need, including important amino acids, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins.
- In the formula-fed diet, research shows that calves must receive diets with iron to meet the animals' requirements for normal health and behavior. Nutritional standards are established by a number of government agencies and professional organizations.
- With a milk-based diet, formula-fed calves remain pre-ruminant. Once a calf is fed grain, the meat develops the strong flavor commonly associated with beef thanks to the rumination process. Fermentation in the rumen causes meat to change texture and flavor. Grain-fed calves are commonly known as "red-veal."