Veal, the Shameful By-Product of the Cruel Dairy Industry

Cows produce milk for the same reason humans and other mammals do: to nourish their young. But the millions of cows who live on dairy farms are forced into a vicious cycle of continuous pregnancy so that they will produce milk for human consumption. Their female calves are used to replace their mothers in the dairy herd, but the males meet an even crueler fate: they are doomed to a short, painful life in a veal crate, a life characterized by confinement, malnutrition, disease, and slaughter.

The Cow-Calf Bond

Without human intervention, calves suckle from their mothers for nearly a year. One veterinary study revealed that during natural weaning there is never complete and abrupt abandonment of the calf by the cow. In fact, the cow and calf will maintain a lifelong relationship of social contact and companionship even when a new offspring arrives. Another study found that a cow and her calf can develop a strong maternal bond in as little as five minutes. But calves born on dairy farms are taken from their mothers on the same day they are born and fed milk replacers, including cattle blood, so that humans can have the milk instead. This forced separation causes cows and calves great anxiety and distress, and cows have been known to escape enclosures and travel for miles to reunite with their young. One recent viral video captured a mother cow in New Zealand desperately chasing the vehicle that was taking her babies away.

Small Stalls and No Exercise
Calves raised for veal are forced to spend their short lives chained to tiny individual crates. These crates are designed to prohibit exercise and normal muscle growth in order to produce tender “gourmet” veal. The calves are fed a milk substitute that is purposely low in iron so that they will become anemic and their flesh will stay pale.

Because of these extremely unhealthy living conditions, calves raised for veal are susceptible to a long list of diseases, including chronic pneumonia and diarrhea. A study published in the Journal of Animal Science found that calves who were kept in these veal crates had difficulty keeping themselves clean and had trouble extending their front legs and changing from a lying to a standing position, which resulted in joint swelling. It was also determined that stereotypical forms of stress behaviors, such as tongue rolling and “sham-chewing” (the act of chewing without food in the mouth), increase when smaller pens were used and as calves got older.

What You Can Do
Veal crates have been prohibited in European Union member countries since 2007, but can still be seen by the thousands here in the United States. Demand your legislators follow the example of Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, and Ohio – states which have banned veal crates – by sponsoring bills that would prohibit them in your state.

In addition to refusing to eat veal, avoid all dairy products—calves raised for veal are a by-product of the dairy industry. Try fortified soy, almond, oat, coconut, rice, or other plant-based milks, all of which provide calcium, vitamins, iron, zinc, and protein but contain no cholesterol. They are delicious and perfect for cereal, smoothies, baked goods, and other recipes. Many smooth and creamy dairy alternatives, including nondairy ice cream, cheese, sour cream, and coffee creamers, are easy to find in most supermarkets.

No veal, no dairy – healthy for you, compassionate for cows.

Peace for ALL the animals which whom we share this planet.

Fresh Milk from Contented Cows? Think Again

As a child actress and model, I was photographed in all sorts of poses, including a few like this one – eating a bowl of cereal and milk.  Of course, I had no idea then how cruel the dairy industry is or what goes on at dairy farms. Thank goodness I know now.

We’re so used to drinking cows’ milk we never think about what dairy cows and their offspring endure for people to pour milk on their cereal. Did you know that human animals are the only species on earth who drink the milk of another species? And did you know every animal in the animal kingdom stops drinking milk after they’re weened, except for – you got it – human animals.

Although the dairy industry would rather you didn’t know and tries to hide this fact, lactose intolerance is a natural and common condition among humane. Lactose intolerance affects approximately 95 percent of Asian-Americans, 74 percent of Native Americans, 70 percent of African Americans, 53 percent of Latin Americans, and 15 percent of Caucasians. Symptoms include gastrointestinal cramping, diarrhea, and flatulence, and occur because the lactose intolerant do not have the lactase enzyme to digest the lactose, the sugar naturally found in milk.

The dairy industry would like you to believe that dairy cows graze contentedly in green pastures before being led into a rustic red barn to be milked. Nothing could be further from the truth.   The reality in today’s world find thousands of cows packed tightly together in nightmarish factory farms, hooked up to painful and frightening machines.

Dairy cows are, of course, female, and, like all mammals, produce milk after giving birth to nourish their calves. To keep cows producing milk, it is necessary to force them to remain constantly pregnant. Dairy farmers achieve this by artificially impregnating their cows again and again on so-called “rape racks.”

A cow’s natural lifespan is about 20 years, but cows used by the dairy industry are typically killed after about five years because their bodies wear out from constantly being pregnant or lactating. A dairy industry study found that by the time they are killed, nearly 50 percent of cows have painful mastitis – grossly enlarged and misshapen udders – and are typically lame and infected from standing in intensive confinement on concrete floors and in filth.

If that weren’t cruel enough, do you know what happens to all those calves brought into the world in order to keep their mothers producing milk? First, calves are torn away from their mothers within 24 hours of their birth. This is traumatic for both mother and calf; mother cows can be heard crying out for their calves for days. Female calves will live short and cruel lives just as their mothers do, but a different fate waits in store for the males. Most male calves of dairy cows are shipped to barren feedlots where they will be fattened and slaughtered for beef. Those are the “lucky” ones.

A “city” of veal calf crates, each with a single pitiful abused calf, at a factory farm.

Some male calves are turned over to the veal industry. These calves, beginning at a day or two old, are kept 24/7 in tiny crates, a chain around their neck to prevent them from moving about or even turning around. The muscles of calves who cannot move atrophy and remain tender. To make their flesh white, the calves are fed a diet lacking in iron and any real nutritional value. Veal calves typically suffer from anemia, diarrhea, and pneumonia. Frightened, sick, and isolated from other calves, these poor animals are slaughtered after a few short months, and their flesh stripped and sold. That tender, pale veal neatly packaged in the meat case of your local supermarket is the end product of a short, sad, and brutal life.

Those who refuse to eat veal because of the cruelty involved ought to be aware that drinking cows’ milk or buying dairy products – butter, cheese, ice cream etc. – are still supporting the veal industry with their wallets.

The good news is that removing dairy products from your diet is easier than ever. Today, there are many cruelty-free vegan alternatives at your supermarket, such as soy, rice, oat, almond, coconut, and pecan milks and ice creams, tasty vegetable-based spreads, and delicious cheeses for cooking and eating. Please try them – they’re great!

Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!