Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Veal is one of the most misunderstood protein products derived from livestock agriculture. Often associated with international cuisines such as Italian, French, German, and other middle-European countries, American consumers tend to prepare veal dishes more for special occasions.
In some systems, the calves are restricted to a small, dark crate for their entire lives; producers usually say that this is done to keep their flesh white and tender. Others instead reply that this is done for economic reasons (minimizing costs and providing them a studied food). The best meat comes from calves still unweaned.
Veal is the nutritious and nutrient-rich meat dervied from male offspring of dairy cows. Dairy cows must give birth annually to continue producing milk, but male dairy calves are of little or no value to dairy farmers, other than a very small percentage which are raised to maturity and used for breeding. Male dairy calves are used as the primary product source for veal throughout the industry.
Calves raised for veal are the male offspring of dairy cows. They’re taken from their mothers within a few days of birth and chained in stalls only 2 feet wide and 6 feet long with slatted floors. Since their mothers’ milk is used for human consumption, the calves are fed a milk substitute designed to help them gain at least 2 pounds a day. The diet is purposely low in iron so that the calves become anemic and their flesh stays pale and tender. Today's modern, environmentally controlled veal barns provide for optimal animal health and safety. Barns are well lighted, whether artificially and/or by natural light, and a constant source of fresh air is circulated. Many barns are temperature controlled as well.
Traditionally, individual stalls are used for raising the calves. These stalls provide a safe environment where the calves can stand, stretch, groom themselves, and lay down in a natural position. These pens are invaluable assets to help maintain proper health of the animals. They allow the calves to be individually looked after. They also help protect calves from the more aggressive of the herd. The stall's slotted floors allow for efficient removal of waste.
In recent times, calves are being bred traditionally again, in a constantly increasing measure, following in some cases the consumers' suggestions. Some non-vegetarians refuse to eat veal because they believe that the process is extremely cruel to the young calves. In the United Kingdom veal has become rare, largely for this reason.
Veal producers carefully watch each calf to be sure it is not suffering any clinical symptoms of anemia, such as weakness or loss of appetite. Calves must receive diets with iron to meet the animals' requirements for normal health and behavior. A calf that does not eat will not grow.
Veal farmers monitor each calf for health deficiencies such as anemia. The feed is controlled to meet the calves' nutritional needs. Individual stalls allow veal farmers and veterinarians to closely monitor the health of each calf and properly treat a calf with a specific, government approved antibiotic, only if and when required. Health products for use with veal calves are approved by the Food and Drug Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services and the manufacturers before being put on the market. The FDA also regulates the labeling of the product, the doses permitted, and withdrawal period.
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