Produced from Holstein bull calves, Veal is a product of the dairy industry – female Holsteins are nurtured to produce milk. Male cows (bulls), are raised for five months on a special formula diet to a harvest weight of 500 pounds.
Dated Raising Methods
Historically speaking, the Veal industry has bore its share of controversy. There has long been inhumane animal treatment issues with regard to the way Veal had been raised.
Male calves were often taken from their mothers soon after birth and placed in confinement cages with little room to move. They were chained by the neck to restrict all movement, making it impossible for them to turn around or even lie down comfortably. This severe confinement made the calves’ meat “tender” since the animals muscles could not develop. Veal producers would severely limit what their animals ate, restricting them to an all liquid milk-substitute which was purposely deficient in iron. This gave them borderline anemia and the pale colored flesh fancied by gourmets.
Incredible strides have been made in the Veal industry and much has changed dramatically. While the traditional stall method of raising veal calves is still the predominant management technique, stalls have since been redesigned to provide safer environments to enable calves to stand, stretch, groom themselves, and lay down in a natural position. Environmentally temperature controlled Veal barns further provide natural light and a constant source of fresh circulated air for optimal animal health and safety.
In 2007, American Veal farmers announced they were committed to transitioning all farms to group barns. While experience shows that raising calves in individual pens allows farmers to carefully monitor and manage calves’ nutrition and overall health, advances in group housing now allow farmers to provide the same level of quality care in group settings. It is estimated that 30 percent of Veal calves are raised in group barns today.
Milk-fed Veal continues to be a synonymous industry term. Young calves are unable to digest fiber, such as hay or straw, which is the reason why they receive milk feed. Current feed diets have been improved to use special formulated milk without hormones or preservatives which is easy for calves to digest.
Learn more about today’s trends at VealFarm.com.
Veal on the Menu
Often prepared in the form of cutlets, such as Italian Cotoletta and Austrian Wiener Schnitzel, Veal can be coated in preparation for frying and/or eaten with a sauce. The traditional Italian dish, Veal Parmigiana, is breaded and served with tomato sauce. Classic French Veal dishes include: fried Escalopes, fried Veal Grenadines (small thick fillet steaks), stuffed Paupiettes, Roast Joints and Blanquettes.
Veal is also considered a diet friendly choice. On average, a trimmed, cooked 3 oz. serving contains 166 calories and only 5.6 grams of fat. Lower in fat than many meats, care must be taken to ensure that Veal does not become tough when prepared. It is also an excellent source of protein and a good source of niacin, zinc, and vitamin B12 and B6.