1. Carmina
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    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Veal: Meal or Raw Deal?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Carmina, Jan 19, 2010.

    I was just in a debate with a friend over whether or not the raising of calves for veal is inherently cruel and should be banned or whether it is simply how to go about getting a tender, tasty piece of meat.

    Veal is baby or young cattle meat. There are several ways of raising veal cows. Traditionally it involves crating the calf for its entire life and restricting it's diet to only milk products. Criticism with veal crates revolves around the facts that the veal calves are highly restricted in movement, have unsuitable flooring, spend their entire lives indoors, experience prolonged sensory, social, and exploratory deprivation, and are more susceptible to high amounts of stress and disease.[

    I have heard similar concerns over Foie Gras.Geese are force fed or Gavaged. Gavage-based foie gras production is controversial, due to the force feeding procedure and the possible health consequences of an enlarged liver that could be faced by the duck or goose. A number of countries and other jurisdictions have laws against force feeding or the sale of foie gras.

    There are some people are groups who are against all factory farms (high yield often indoor facilities with a lot of animals in a small space) such as egg farms which house thousands of chickens together in cages.

    While this is not a vegetarianism thread per se, I am a vegetarian because I dislike the treatment that most animals in the meat industry receive. I can't conceive of a humane way to kill something. But I am the minority. What I would like to know is, where do you draw the line? What is simply raising an animal in an affordable high yield way to provide needed food and what is unnecessarily cruel? Where should governments step in and interfere with the practices of farmers? What practices should be legal and what banned?

    This is a potentially controversial topic. Please show respect. If there is any flaming or if this gets off subject, the mods will shut it down in a heart beat. Let's not let it get there.
     
  2. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    I eat veal on occasion. I have no real moral convictions against it. Animals die all the time in nature; are lions humane when they kill their prey? Are wolves? Alligators? Humans are carnivores and I imagine we are no less or more cruel than nature itself.
     
  3. Carmina
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    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

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    The issue with veal isn't generally that it is an animal that dies...the issue is in how the farmers treat them while they live.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, this is a potentially explosive topic, so take extra care to be respectful.

    I care about animals, but I make no apologies for enjoying meat. Veal is a difficult topic. The way it is raised is intended to produce the same quantities of a tender, mild beef variant from fewer animals. Every effort is made to avoid trauma and suffering consistent with making the product. Is it enough? Possibly not, but people do get in their vote by the levels of veal consumption.

    Maybe we should butcher the calves at a younger age to reduce the duration of their restricted lives. However, I suspect that would result in an even greater outcry.

    I happen to greatly enjoy venison, and am not dismayed by the thought of "eating Bambi." There is a food chain, and we do partake of it.
     
  5. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    I personally don't care for the taste or the texture of veal and I can't see spending the money for it.
    My uncle when I was younger raised a couple veal calves each year. They were in a pen about the size of the larger cows just not allowed out in the fields. When we visited the calves didn't look much different than the other calves just a lot cleaner.
    I am a hunter so I see nothing wrong with eating any meat if you enjoy the taste.
    I do object to a select few coming around and saying you can't do something simply because they don't enjoy it.
    like cog says there is a food chain and I would much rather be on the top than any other place in line.
     
  6. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    I don’t know, there’s something about killing a young animal I don’t like. There’s no way I could live without meat, but I can live without veal.

    It seems wasteful also. You’re taking a creature that could make a pretty good meal for many people, and then slaughtering it while it’s small.
     
  7. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I've never tried it, but I would quite like to. Then again, I have an open policy about trying any meat, if offered.
     
  8. TheHedgehog
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    TheHedgehog Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do enjoy a nice piece of meat, but my family and I try to buy local proteins whenever possible, or otherwise from good, reliable sources. It's hardly a worldwide contribution, but I am sick with the thought of animals and their conditions in the business of mass-produced livestock. More serious measures should be taken to enforce humane treatment of baby cattle and the like (animal cruelty is present in every species of livestock, I'm sure). If only it was a perfect world.
     
  9. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    to be honest a 200lb male bear is much tastier and more tender than veal.
    female bears are not nearly as nice tasting but still very tender.
    save a calve eat a bear.:)
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I have eaten bear. It was horrible. I might even say unbearable.
     
  11. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    I prefer consuming both. It's my privilege as top of the food chain. ;)

    EDIT: Cogito, your puns are bearly ever funny, can you bearlieve it?
     
  12. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    Cog you probably got a female bear. they are nasty.
    male bear is much better.
    you just have to get ones away by 50 miles from a dump.
    the ones we get are sitting in blueberry fields munching away.
    the meat is almost fruity in taste.
     
  13. Carmina
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    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

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    IPerhaps I should elaborate on my original question. It isn't so much the eating of an animal...any animal. My question was: Do the treatment, care, and conditions in which an animal kept prior to its death (or circumstances of it's slaughter) have any bearing or impact on whether or not you would choose to eat an animal? Would you boycott a particular meat because the animals were abused? What constitutes abuse?

    I don't care who is at hte top of the food chain or eating what animal. Just...what do you feel about how the animals that are raised for our consumption are treated?
     
  14. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    Sorry got off topic.
    I have little worry about an animal raised for food is treated with kid gloves. When it is put in perspective with how many children are treated.
    Animals living in the wild have it much harsher than those raised on farms.
    If an animal dies on the farm the farmer is out money so he treats them well enough to keep them alive and healthy.
    An animal in the wild if the mother cannot get enough food for all her young she leaves them to either fend for themselves or die.
    It is just a fact of life. things are born and things die.
     
  15. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Shame on you for such an obvious pun...it's bearly funny. <wink>

    The manner of raising veal leaves a bad taste in my mouth...no pun intended. That said, I guess it's no less humane than ten thousand head of cattle, raised knee-deep in excrement and mud inside feed lots. I've also eaten free-range cattle and the meat was tough. As far as bear, yuck. Tried it and it was a bad as liver. Venison, duck and wild pig are great if they are cooked right. I also ate puppy as a guest in a village in Vietnam...tasted like the dark meat of chicken. Of course, a little nuoc mam (fermented fish sauce) and it didn't matter what the puppy tasted like.
     
  16. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Animal abuse brings tears to my eyes just thinking of it. Force-feeding chickens and geese is the most horrible, sickening thing I've ever heard of, and the thought of all those animals forced into tiny cells together being force-fed until the day they die makes me ashamed of even considering eating meat.

    I eat meat for the simple reason that I was brought up eating it, and I feel that if I didn't, then all these animals will have died for nothing. They die because humans eat meat - i'd feel like I was spitting in their faces if I refused it.

    However, I could argue that i'm just too cowardly to become a vegetarian....if I knew that the meat I was about to eat was from an abused animal, then i'd be more likely to take the stuff outside and bury it then put it anywhere near my mouth. So the answer is yes - the way the animal is treated before hand very much effects whether I choose to eat it.

    There is absolutely no reason why these animals can't be given free-range, happy lives before they're killed for meat. I don't care about all these worries about how 'fresh' they are or what have you - if the wild lions eat meat raw, then we eat meat raw. There should be no 'dressing up' involved, period.

    Personally I think it's about time people stopped hiding behind 'regulations' and faced up to the cruelty that these animals get put through. If we're gonna rear animals for meat then we should take responsibility for the care and respect of them.

    I don't agree that just because harsher things happen in the wild they should be committed by humans on farms, either. The wild is the wild - we are not wild animals and we have no reason to treat them that way. If they're bread in captivity, then the animals are completely vulnerable to us. This, I feel, could not be further from 'natural'.

    Oh, and the veal issue - It sickens me. A full grown cow could feed a hundred people, and yet they choose to pracitcally take a calf from the womb and kill it for pure selfishness. It's the same as killing a baby in my eyes; like recycling abortions or something. It's horrid.

    //Wooah. I have more of an opinion than I realised it seems...
     
  17. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    All animals die. I may sound cruel, but humans are natural beings as well. What we do to cows has become their nature, in a way. It may not be the best conditions (yes, they are in fact far from it) but at least they serve a purpose.
     
  18. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    In answer to your specific question, no, I would not eat meat that I felt came from an abusive rearing or slaughter. What is "abusive"? That's subjective. For me, veal comes close, but not quite over the line.
     
  19. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Keep in mind that animals are not people. Identifying too closely with them is a mistake. What would be considered cruel and abusive to a human being is not necessarily so to a food animal.

    To a human, spending hours standing in one place with inexhaustibe food and drink ithin easy reach would be unbearable (unless there is a big screen TV straight ahead and the remote in hand). To a grazing animal it could be Shangri-la.
     
  20. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am not vegetarian and I don't have an issue with eating meat, but to me meat is like a special treat or extra dietry supplement, not something to be consumed in vast amounts several times a week. Raising some animals is also not always very eco-friendly, so I don't eat meat often, and IMO people should be encouraged to eat as little meat as possible.

    To me, the mark of a country's level of civilisation is how animals, as well as children, are treated. Yes, there are people living in misery in many places (even in developed countries) but this doesn't mean we should only try and solve this and then as an afterthought move on to treat animals more humanely. I think that abusing animals by treating them badly just brutalizes people in the end.

    Animals should always be reared in humane conditions. If I know that a particular producer or abattoir has bad practices I don't buy from there, and I tell my friends about it. There's no excuse for causing an animal (which includes hens kept for eggs) unnecessary suffering while they are being reared and transported. There are plenty of animal husbandry methods which respect animals as co-dwellers on our planet.

    On the subject of veal, be aware that in many countries 'veal' just means young calves--it doesn't always mean that they have been kept indoors. Personally, on the very few occasions I've eaten white veal (years ago) I found it much more tasteless than normal meat, and I'd never eat veal in France or England now I know how the animals are treated--I find the process very disturbing and pointless.
     
  21. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Ethical", rose veal is on the rise in the UK. This veal has ready access to sunlight, which gives it the pink tinge, and is given larger enclosures. Most UK white veal is exported to mainland Europe where the palate is generally less concerned with welfare than with taste (see foie gras).

    Many high-end restaurants in the UK are welcoming the ethical rose veal back onto their menus, though demand is still relatively low due to ethical scepticism. I read an article about this in the last couple of weeks but can't remember where. Nevertheless a quick google search on "ethical veal UK" will give some older articles on the same subject.

    It's clear IMO that "ethical" veal is better for the livestock than the crampt white veal stock (google "distress" with the above words to see how the export stock is treated in transit to Europe). Therefore, the UK is rightly focusing on it. No supermarket to my knowledge carries white veal in the UK, but the higer-end ones (M&S, Waitrose etc) have started carrying the rose.

    For the record, I have eaten and enjoyed both varieties. And foie gras too (at the risk of putting the cat amongst the pigeons).
     

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