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Is veal cruel?
osso bucco

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#1 lucibella

Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:26 AM

Look, I know many people consider eating ANY meat cruel, but is there a reason why veal is more cruel than beef?

I thought of this because I wanted to cook the Osso Bucco dish the italian girls on MKR made, it looked delicious. I went to my butcher and asked for 2kg of Osso Bucco, and he replied that he only had BEEF OB, and not VEAL OB. So I just got the beef and I'm cooking it for easter lunch tomorrow.

But now I remember reading somewhere that veal is cruel and should be avoided, as for example foie gras. Sorry for being so ignorant, can anyone please explain this to me? Is there a worse environmental impact, or are they killed in a crueller way, or is it non-sustainable?

Thanks in advance!

#2 Miss_Catie

Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:33 AM

I thin its because veal is baby cow, not adult cow

#3 EsmeLennox

Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:34 AM

I have no idea - but I do recall hearing that veal is cruel. But if it's just because it's 'baby cow' why isn't eating lamb cruel too? Or suckling pig?

#4 Guest_sunnycat_*

Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:36 AM

I thought it was cut out of the mother cow before it is born and that's why it's cruel.

No idea if this is true though!

#5 Dowager fancie

Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:38 AM

The only reason I can think may be a possible explanation for cruelty is that veal is very young calf.  Way back when I was doing home science in the early 70's veal was defined as unborn calf, so I guess was taken from the mother when she was slaughtered.  This was reflected in the very high cost of veal at the time as it was the most tender of all beef cuts as the muscles had never been used as such and was not nearly as plentiful as lets say yearling beef.

I doubt very much that veal is still defined as unborn calf and in fact I recently bought some veal mince that was much much cheaper than beef mince.

#6 Miss_Catie

Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:43 AM

Ok I just googled *shudder* and its because basically the calf is forced to not move as to ensure it stays tender. Sometimes they are tethered so they cant move, and other times they are shoved in crates. They are fed milk which lacks essential nutrients for a growing calf so that when the calf is killed the end product is appealing (light pink)

Due to lacking nutrients, they are then dosed up with drugs so they don't get diseases and due to their poor living conditions they are often cut up from rubbing against their tiny crates

#7 Dowager fancie

Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:47 AM

Miss Catie, surely calves are supposed to be milk fed.  When I stayed on my aunt and uncles farm, the calves were all fed by their mothers i.e. cow's milk.

#8 L&E

Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:47 AM

As far as I know, they take a very very young calf from is mother while it's still suckling. The mother cow bays for her young while it's been taken to be slaughtered. I love the taste of veal, bu I can't eat it knowing the pain that mother cow is feeling. That's why I feel it's cruel.

#9 Doppelgänger

Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:48 AM

I have refused to eat veal ever since I was a child and found out it was a baby cow.

#10 Steggles

Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:49 AM

I do not buy it - makes me sad sad.gif

#11 Miss_Catie

Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:50 AM

They are taken away from their Mum as soon as they are born (which you can then go into the milk debate which is how they keep the cows producing milk) sad.gif and fed special formula which lacks the iron and other nutrients

So yes, they SHOULD be fed cows milk but they arent.

I'm also one who wont eat veal, but Im a fussy meat eater as it is

#12 rosebay

Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:52 AM

Crikey that's horrific. I love osso bucco but thought it was beef. The pieces look too big to be veal. I only eat organic meat. I wonder (hope) their practices are less cruel. It seems unbelievable that pets are protected from cruelty and yet animals bred for food can be treated in such an inhumane way.

#13 Miss_Catie

Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:53 AM

Yep just look at how the animals are transported!

#14 lucibella

Posted 24 April 2011 - 02:08 AM

As for the "baby animal" argument, I understand this, but it makes me wonder what is the difference between veal and lamb?

Lamb is also a baby animal, so how come it's more acceptable than veal?

#15 ironbutterfly

Posted 24 April 2011 - 02:15 AM

The traditional way for veal is to slaughter the mother whilst pregnant.
The modern way is to birth the calf then keep it immobile whilst feeding, with force in some cases, with milk that is not suitable (low protein etc) They figured they could get more muscle mass from a slightly older calf and still be classified as veal as opposed to the old fashioned way. That is provided the calf doesn't move. (Both ways are disgusting and I don't eat veal for this and many other reasons)

Then again you can look at sow stalls and you wouldn't want to eat pork either. However in stating that WA pork farmers have agreed to stop using sow stalls and phase them out over the next 10 years along with other unsuitable practices. Many farmers have taken the change unfortunately it will take 10 years for the rest to comply.

#16 ironbutterfly

Posted 24 April 2011 - 02:19 AM

QUOTE (lucibella @ 24/04/2011, 12:08 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
As for the "baby animal" argument, I understand this, but it makes me wonder what is the difference between veal and lamb?

Lamb is also a baby animal, so how come it's more acceptable than veal?

Lambs are allowed to remain with their mothers for sometime, they are also not forced to lay in confined areas and fed milk that is lacking basic sustanence.

ETA it used to be common practice to break calves legs as to render them immobile too

Edited by ironbutterfly, 24 April 2011 - 02:24 AM.

#17 monique13

Posted 24 April 2011 - 06:47 AM

Lamb is between 6 months and 12 months old.
Proper veal is either killed just before birth, or just after. sad.gif

The lambs get a chance to run around and have a life.

#18 HRH Countrymel

Posted 24 April 2011 - 07:08 AM

Veal is baby cow.

The veal you can buy here in the butcher or in the supermarket is generally baby boy cow.

This is a parenting forum so I would assume that people reading it would have a basic understanding of how lactation works?

To maintain lactation in a cow she needs to give birth right? But the milk she is producing is earmarked not for her calf but for human consumption - ergo her calf is removed from her AFTER birth and is then (on every farm I have ever come into contact with) fed on milk via a calf feeder if it is a female calf OR taken to the abattoir if it is a boy calf..... veal.

A smaller farm will leave the calves in with the mothers. As will calves that have been specifically bred for herd improvement, breeding stock.

If you follow the seasonality of food you will notice that veal will be cheap at certain times of the year, this is when there is a large oversupply due to all the new calves being born .

As pp have mentioned 'lamb' is simply young sheep, not little baby lambs, it is a marketing term really in Australia as the Australian consumer has an aversion to buying 'mutton' which is the term for older sheep.

Veal is a byproduct of commercial milk production - if you feel sad about buying veal than perhaps now is a very good time to check yourself before you support the 'big two' supermarkets in their milk price wars.

Buying branded milk from a small local producer is a far more ethical, sustainable choice - one that leads to far better outcomes for the animals (and farmers) involved.

#19 Mrs Dinosaurus

Posted 24 April 2011 - 07:14 AM

Agree with above explanations of veal and it's current conditions (ie it is no longer unborn cow) and although baby sheep and baby pigs have a slightly better deal, both are treated horribly in large farms - pigs in particular have awful conditions in Australia. But then chicken farms and fish farms are horrible too and I've seen them and still eat meat - I guess it depends on your level of empathy between human and meat - I would actively buy and spend more $ to get well looked after meat, but in the end won't go vegan ic I can't.

As for organic - this has nothing to do with the animals living conditions but what they ate fed/injected with. Because of living conditions for some animals in Australia, organic sometimes means worse actual conditions than others - chicken eggs for example, organic chickens are kept outside in a very overcrowded pen while battery hens are kept in cages that are inside and sadly, more spacious.

Veal is probably the worst, chickens and pigs are next, cows and sheep the best. If you want to stay a meat eater and have strong ethics regarding the welfare of animals I wouldn't do a lot of research. My SIL is an ethical vegan and though she drives me batty at times, she is largely correct in that IF you want animals to be treated well in life and death before you eat them, there's not much you can ethically eat in Australia (or she would say the world!)

#20 icekool

Posted 24 April 2011 - 07:24 AM

We don't eat veal. DH and DS2 eats beef but I don't eat any beef (no steak/stir fry but enjoy a sausage every so often). DS1 doesn't like meat. DH thinks eating veal is cruel.

I use to buy veal bones for our dog. They were good for his teeth, he loved it. Then one day, the butcher told me that some of the them don't even walk and they only have milk from their mum and that is why their bones are still soft. I stop buying veal bones that day! I was horrified. So now our dog gets chicken bones.

#21 monique13

Posted 24 April 2011 - 08:34 AM

Actually your upper end chiefs (the same one's that serve foie gras) still will serve proper veal, a calf killed just before birth.
Gary from Master chief had a big spiel about it in his cookbook.  He refuses to use any meat under 6 months old. original.gif

#22 mischiefmaker

Posted 24 April 2011 - 09:22 AM

but is there a reason why veal is more cruel than beef?

I really can't believe you even need to ask.   blink.gif

Calves are taken from their mother's shortly after birth and are generally slaughtered within 5 days.

It's sickens me to the core, and I cannot fathom how anyone can eat veal.  But, then again, I also cannot fathom how anyone can eat any beef (or any other meat for that matter).   Cows are stunned before slaughter, then hoisted by a hind leg before the dismemberment begins. They are still conscious when this happens.  sad.gif

Gary from Master chief had a big spiel about it in his cookbook. He refuses to use any meat under 6 months old.  original.gif

Oh how good of him.  He only uses meat that has been allowed to live for 6 glorious months before being horrifically slaughtered.  

#23 s-m

Posted 24 April 2011 - 09:29 AM

True veal is newborn, ie has not eaten or drunk anything. Veal is a byproduct of the dairy industry.

It beats me how some people will go veg for humane reasons but still drink commercially produced milk.

While veal is traditionally used for Osso Bucco, I think older meat works fine in slow cooking type dishes and personally prefer a slightly richer flavour.


#24 Kay1

Posted 24 April 2011 - 09:42 AM

Thank you for that post countrymel. original.gif Really informative for us city slickers. I have never ordered veal or bought it because I have always known it is unborn or newborn cow. I never knew those cruel details though I must admit. sad.gif

As pp have mentioned 'lamb' is simply young sheep, not little baby lambs, it is a marketing term really in Australia as the Australian consumer has an aversion to buying 'mutton' which is the term for older sheep.

This is interesting. Lamb is my favourite meat but I recently stopped eating it after getting close to a baby lamb one day (superficial and hypocritical I know).

Can anyone answer me this? I buy my milk from Farmers Direct and therefore am not supporting the milk wars. Is this a better/more ethical option? I am paying way more than I would at the supermarket but I am happy to do so if it is supporting smaller milk producers but I am just not sure. The milk we are delivered changes labels regularly.

#25 Princesinders

Posted 24 April 2011 - 09:48 AM

It seems unbelievable that pets are protected from cruelty and yet animals bred for food can be treated in such an inhumane way.


Gawd, I have been vego for going on 20 years and I knew about crated calves (and everything in mischiefmaker's and countrymel's posts) but even I never knew about "traditional" veal i.e. taken in utero. The lengths some people will go to for their tastebuds has me constantly astounded.

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