Questions and Answers
I'M SENSITIVE TO ISSUES CONCERNING THE HUMANE TREATMENT OF ANIMALS. WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE WAY VEAL CALVES ARE RAISED?
The family farmers who earn their living raising veal calves have a vested interest in maintaining a healthy environment for their livestock. Veal farmers have nothing to gain by doing anything other than what is best for the health and well-being of their calves. Watch this video to see how veal calves are raised today.
I've heard today's farms are like big food factories. Is that true?
The image of a food factory couldn't be further from the truth. Typical veal farms are family operations. And while today's veal farmers take advantage of modern technology and production practices, it has only led to safer, more caring programs.
Is veal inspected?
Of course. Trained government personnel conduct a visual inspection before and during processing. Animals with visible signs of health problems are held for further examination. You can learn more about the inspection process by visiting the Food Safety and Inspection Service website.
are veal calves raised in crates?
No. Calves are raised in group pens without tethers. Young calves are given individual attention for the first few weeks, and then are moved to pens of 2 or more calves. Group housing provides adequate space to allow the calves to stand, stretch, lie down, and groom themselves.
How long do veal calves stay with the cow? Why are they separated?
Veal calves are usually the offspring of dairy cows, and are normally removed from cows within one to three days of birth. This allows the dairy cow to return to the milking herd as she produces significantly more milk than a calf will consume. This practice also provides health benefits to both cow and calf. Certain types of diseases can be controlled more effectively, and farmers can better monitor the dairy cow for any udder problems.
What does special-fed mean?
When a calf is "special-fed" (also known as "milk-fed" or "formula-fed") this refers to a nutritionally balanced milk or soy-based diet. These diets contain iron and 40 other essential nutrients including amino acids, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins.
WHAT ABOUT THE CLAIM THAT VEAL CALVES ARE KEPT ANEMIC AND WEAK?
According to nutritionist, Dr. Sonia Arnold, “Iron is a very important nutrient for veal calves. They need it for normal growth and development. There is a minimum requirement that calves need, and nutritionists and farmers ensure that in the production of veal, calves are not anemic.”