Veal Heartbreak – from farm to slaughterhouse

Veal calvesPerhaps the most heartbreaking farm animal practice is the raising of veal. Despite substantial public opposition, hundreds of thousands of calves raised for veal are intensively confined in individual crates too narrow for them even to turn around. Tethered by their necks to further restrict their movement, they’re virtually immobilized for their entire 16 week-long lives. Unfortunately, this confinement is common in the veal industry, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that it’s inhumane and at odds with public opinion. They are also prematurely weaned from their mothers and fed an all-liquid diet, deliberately low in iron, resulting in anemia and debilitation. This is done to give veal its characteristic soft texture and pale color. As bad as this is, undercover investigations have discovered that some slaughterhouses abuse the veal calves as well, adding insult to injury.

The latest expose is a Humane Society of the United States undercover investigation of a large veal calf slaughterhouse in New Jersey, documenting abuse that can only be termed gruesome, and resulting in the temporary shutdown of the facility by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Slaughterhouses aren’t places for the squeamish, but a secret video taken recently of calves at a Catelli Brothers plant was enough for federal regulators to draw the line. It was determined that the calves were being butchered while still conscious, and that calves too weak to walk were brutally dragged.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incidence. Numerous investigations across the country have documented abuse not only with veal calves but with every kind of farm animal. However, animals are not the only victims of the slaughterhouse. We recently wrote about how the workers there also suffer all kinds of injury and abuse. And of course, loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol, veal isn’t exactly kind to the consumer either.


About Vegetarians of Washington

Vegetarians of Washington is a large non-profit vegetarian society based in Seattle, WA. We encourage people to discover the advantages and experience the pleasures of vegetarian food. We welcome everyone, whether you're an experienced vegetarian, a beginner or just curious. You don't have to be a vegetarian to join our organization, or to follow our blog! We run the largest vegetarian food festival in the country, Seattle's Vegfest, held in the Seattle Center in March each year. We also host monthly dining events and give free nutrition and cooking classes. We've written several nationally published books, including our latest book "In Pursuit of Great Food: A Plant-based shopping guide", which provides valuable information on what to buy and how to choose great food. Our other books include "Say No to Meat" which gives the information and real-world advice that new vegetarians need the most, in an easy question-and-answer style, the fact-filled "The Vegetarian Solution", and a wide range of delicious recipes in "The Veg-Feasting Cookbook". All our books are available in local bookstores, and via our website or


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