Target: U.S.D.A. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, (APHIS)
Goal: To require veal producers to improve living conditions for calves.
The veal industry was created as a means to take advantage of the unwanted male calves produced by the diary industry. Most calves used to produce veal live only 18 to 20 weeks and perhaps this short life expectancy is the reason that so few precautions are taken to prevent their suffering. Approximately one million veal calves are born and slaughtered each year and in factory farms, these young creatures are exposed to psychological trauma, poor nutrition, and complete confinement for the duration of their short lives.
Though currently on the decline in the U.S., crate confinement has been the housing of choice for veal calves since the birth of the industry. Calves are taken from their mothers’ shortly after birth and placed in wooden crates not much larger than their bodies. These crates are designed to restrict the calves’ movement allowing just enough room for them to stand or lie down. The calves are then tethered to the crate by a large chain that is placed around their necks. Crate confinement prevents calves from performing all of their natural social and psychological behaviors and purposely prevents healthy growth and development. At the end of their short lives these calves are not able to walk to slaughter due to the under-development of their leg muscles.
Calves raised to become veal are fed a liquid diet of milk substitute that is deficient in essential nutrients like iron and fiber. They are deliberately stricken with anemia to give the meat its signature white coloration. They are not provided with straw bedding and are forced to lay on the feces covered slats at the bottom of the crate for fear that they may graze on the straw and alter the meat color. The poor diet and close confinement of these calves results in severe health issues including abnormal gut development and ulcerations of the stomach. Research shows that crate raised veal calves are more susceptible to disease and receive three times more medication than other calves. There is no doubt that these calves suffer from chronic stress and demonstrate all of the behaviors associated with stress in cattle. These behaviors include air chewing, head tossing and shaking, and scratching and kicking.
The use of veal crates has been banned in the European Union for humane reasons and refined alternatives have been developed to provide a greater quality of life for veal calves. These include freer living with access to fresh air and room to perform natural behaviors. The use of veal crates is also banned in seven U.S. states including Arizona, Colorado, California, Maine, Michigan, Oregon, and Arizona but the Federal government has not take an active stand on the issue by implementing or even suggesting National policy that would put an end this type of animal cruelty. Please ask the U.S.D.A to introduce legislation that would improve the quality of life for all veal calves produced in the United States.
Dear Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, (APHIS), of the United States Department of Agriculture,
To date seven states and the European Union gave banned the use of veal crates to house calves on veal producing farms but the U.S. has failed to take a united stand against this overt form of animal cruelty taking place within our agricultural industry.
Veal crates are completely restrictive and prevent calves from performing all of their natural behaviors. This type of confinement leaves the animal distressed psychologically, physically underdeveloped, and immune deficient. How could anyone believe that subjecting these calves to a horrific, short life of complete solitude and poor health is anything less than cruel and inhumane?
Please take a stand against animal cruelty in the agricultural industry now by proposing legislation that would improve the quality of life for these animals.
[Your Name Here]