Do You Eat Baby Animals?


vealIs it me, or is veal really hot right now? It got a lot of bad press a while back when the veal industry was exposed for being inhumane -- calves were separated from their mothers and kept in dark, narrow crates to keep the meat extra tender. Cruelty is not delicious, so people stopped eating veal.

But this year I heard about Strauss "Free Raised" veal and it looked really different: the calves stay with their mothers, aren't confined or tethered, can nurse freely with their grazing mothers, and aren't given hormones or antibiotics. Then I noticed some of my local, smaller family farms (Raindance and Slope Farms) were also producing veal under the same conditions. The veal is pink rather than white because the calves are getting more iron, but it's still as tender as, well, baby flesh.

This was good news to me because ... well ... I have a confession to make: I love eating baby animals. Is it really so evil? Let's take a look.

First of all, how old are the other animals we eat?

  • Lamb is usually under a year old, though it's often slaughtered at around 6 to 7 months old. Meat from adults is called mutton and tends to be tougher and stronger in flavor.
  • Pig is slaughtered anywhere from 4 months old (when it's around 40 pounds) to a year old (when it's up to 200 pounds), but from what I can tell, the most common ages are 6 to 9 months old. Suckling pigs are between 2 to 6 weeks old.
  • Most beef is usually just under a year old, though grass-fed cattle are usually a few months older because they take longer to grow.
  • Free-raised veal is around 6 to 7 months old.

So when you look at it that way, eating free-raised veal isn't that different from eating lamb. I do know that Animal Welfare Approved, a program that certifies family farms that use high-welfare methods of farming, generally frowns upon weaning calves before 6 months (in most cases). So there does seem to be something special about animals reaching the 6-month mark. But my question is, if you're going to kill the animal to eat it anyway, why does the age matter? What's with the taboo against eating immature animals?

Some people feel that living a humane life means living to see adulthood. Others consider the attachment mother cows might feel for their calves reason for not eating veal.

What do you think? Would you eat pasture-raised veal? And if not, do you still eat lamb?

Image via Strauss Free Raised Veal

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Karekese Karekese

And this is why I'm a vegetarian,  no thank you all around!

nonmember avatar Jen

I'm not a vegetarian by any stretch but even I have a problem with eating baby animals.

ethan... ethans_momma06

I eat meat. Sorry. I think people think 'baby' and then they think 'helpless' which then equals 'cruel'. However, a cow is just as helpless as her calf when it is being raised on the farm. I have no issue with eating regular beef, and I don't have any issue with eating calf.

Just like I don't have a problem with eating eggs either.

I DO have a problem with how animals that are raised for eating are treated. I am liking this 'Free Raised' idea.

Freela Freela

I'm a vegetarian.  Problem solved right there!

nonmember avatar Allboys

I do love a lamb chop ever now and then. My husband will not touch any dead baby animal. He has an aversion to any food that has been treated in an inhumane fashion. So we buy free range eggs, chickens, beef, pork. We eat much less meat in general because of it. Anyway I digress, I never gave it a whole lot of thought until my 6'5" husband lectured me about the poor little baby animals. It left an impact and while I LOVE the taste I don't indulge as much anymore.

Bluel... Blueliner

I like lamb and veal

nonmember avatar Maryann

yes and they taste great

MomIWant MomIWant

We only eat veal or lamb for the Holidays.

moder... modernmom2010

i lurve lamb!! but i only eat it once a year. i don't eat veal anymore.

maine... mainemusicmaker

I used to eat veal, but no longer. I'm a omnivore all the way though...

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