How the Dairy Industry Supports the Veal Industry

The definition of veal is “the flesh of a calf, used as food,” but the reality about how veal is made is something that the dairy industry would likely prefer consumers don’t know about. Yes, veal is meat, but it’s actually a cruel co-product of the commercial dairy industry. If you consume dairy products in the United States you’re actually supporting the veal industry, too. Here’s how:

SUFFERING FROM THE MOMENT THEY’RE BORN: In order to produce milk, a female cow must first give birth, so in the commercial dairy industry, workers forcibly impregnate female cows over and over. Shortly after a cow gives birth, her calf will be separated from her so that humans can drink the milk that was meant for her baby. This separation causes extreme distress for both mother and calf. If the calves are female, typically they’ll be fed a milk replacer and will follow in the footsteps of their mothers in the dairy industry. Male calves, however, are considered useless to the dairy industry, so they’ll either be shipped to feedlots or sold to the veal industry. This is where the nightmare of veal comes in.

BABIES KEPT IN EXTREME CONFINEMENT: After being torn away from their mothers, calves used for veal are kept in extremely cramped, barren spaces to limit their movement so their flesh stays tender. They’ll either be forced to live in solitary confinement in veal crates, or packed into small pens with other calves.

PURPOSEFULLY MALNOURISHED: Calves used for veal are fed diets low in iron and other nutrients so they’ll become anemic. This is done on purpose so that their flesh stays pale.

MONTHS OF PAIN: The extreme confinement is psychological torture for these baby animals who long for their mothers. The cramped conditions and inadequate diets leave them susceptible to disease, injuries, and muscle atrophy. After a few months of this hell, the calves are shipped to slaughter in cramped transport trucks. During the trip to the slaughterhouse they are subjected to all weather extremes and are offered no food, water, or any sign of kindness. The survivors will be killed so that humans can consume “gourmet” flesh that’s pale and tender.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: If the thought of a baby animal suffering makes you upset, you’re not alone. More and more people are learning about the reality behind the cruel dairy and meat industries and are switching to a plant-based diet. The best way you can help calves suffering for veal is by choosing dairy-free foods. Eliminating veal crates also helps reduce the suffering of these calves. The entire European Union has banned them, as well as states like California, Arizona, and Ohio. You can take action by urging your state legislators to pass similar bills that prohibit them, too.