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     Have you ever had veal cutlets?  Did you wonder what veal really was?  Veal is the flesh of a baby cow called a calf.  Veal calves have especially hard lives and it’s difficult to believe what happens to them.  It’s important that you know about it though so that you can decide whether or not you want to eat veal.  It’s also important that you let your family and friends know where veal comes from.

     Some people like to drink milk from cows. In order for a dairy cow to produce milk, she has to keep having babies.  When the cows have female calves, they’re likely to grow up to be dairy cows like their mom.  When the cows have male calves though, many of them are taken away from their moms right after they are born to be raised as veal.

     These babies are put in tiny wooden stalls all by themselves.   They’re chained at the neck so they can’t turn around or move more than a step forward or backward.  All they can do is stand up and lie down.  This is done so that they don’t develop muscles so that their meat stays very tender.   Twice a day they are given some liquid food.  This food contains chemicals that will help the babies survive under these awful conditions.  Except for feeding time, they are all alone.  This is very hard on babies who are meant to be in a herd with their moms, aunts, cousins, etc.  These babies never get to play or graze or feel the sunshine of their backs or be with their mothers.  They spend their entire lives in the dark in little stalls until they’re big enough to be killed and turned into veal – usually around 16 weeks old (about 4 months).

    One million baby cows are raised like this in the U.S. every year.

     When the calves are old enough to be killed, they are forced to walk to trucks that will take them to the slaughterhouse.  Because they were never allowed to exercise, they have trouble walking.  People use electric prods to force them into the trucks.  When they are too weak, they are chained around the neck or one leg and dragged.

     The best way to help veal calves is to not eat veal.  You can also tell everybody you know what happens to baby cows for veal.

     You might want to check out the menus at nearby restaurants.   If you see a menu with veal on it, you can write or talk to the manager and explain about veal calves.

     The reason we have so many veal calves is because we keep making cows give us milk. You can help veal calves by drinking less milk and eating less cheese and ice cream.  You can substitute soy milk for cows’ milk.  There are also substitutes for ice cream and cheese.

     Some people think you have to drink milk to get calcium to build strong bones.  This is not true.  You can get calcium from many sources.   The funny thing is that when you eat a lot of meat and drink a lot of milk you get too much protein and that washes away all the calcium.  There are people in some countries where milk is not available who have stronger bones than we do because they get their calcium from better sources.

     Many people get sick from drinking cow’s milk because they can’t digest it.  That’s because cow’s milk was meant for baby cows, not people!  Dairy products are also very bad for people with allergies or asthma.  To make dairy cows give more milk than they would normally produce, farmers give them all kinds of chemicals that end up in the milk that people drink. Yuck.

     If you would like to help the baby cows, you can also write to your Senators or Representatives and ask that they pass a law to provide a better life for veal calves.

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