View Full Version : When does veal become beef?
Last I remember, adolescent cows (read:too old to nurse, but too young to get pregnant) were called "heifers", not "yearling calves". Anyone?
After being weaned or after 12 months, calves are referred to as "yearling bulls" or "yearling calves." At 24 months or older, when they have their first calf, they are called "first calf heifer" ... and then, after second calf at three years old, she becomes a cow. So says David Feldman, from WHEN DO FISH SLEEP.
Link to Mailbag Article: When does veal become beef? (http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mveal.html)
[Note: This message has been edited by CKDextHavn]
Veal is primarily a by-product of the dairy industry. Dairy cows need to be pregant once a year in order to continue production. Heifers (female calves) are used to add to the herd, but bull calves are, well, useless (ever hear the expression "useless as tits on a bull?"). The dairy industry is very advanced in terms of reproduction and only a very few bulls are used nationwide for genetic improvement. Holsteins (the black-white kind) aren't very tasty steaks. So what to do with the bull calves? Veal of course. They fatten the boys up on milk replacement, and you got yourself a tasty little critter. It's true, once they age, their muscle texture changes. Just do yourself a favor...don't believe a word what the animal rights fanatics have to say. But that's a whole other can of worms you don't want me to open. Hope you enjoyed this little crash course on veal production.
Budyonni: I am not an animal rights fanatic and my wife the farmer's daughter is positively carnivorous, but she won't let veal into the house after watching veal calves raised near her parents' farm.
To prevent any contagious diseases, the calves are separated from their mothers early, then raised in a 4x4x6 crate (for shelter) with an attached 4x4x4 cage (for "exercise"). They are not allowed any true exercise or any bovine socialization. They are fed a special diet to prevent red meat build-up--and their bones are weak and susceptible to injury as a result.
Since I am not opposed to dairy or beef production as long as it is not willfully cruel (as much of it is), I would not have a problem with veal as a dairy byproduct if they had not turned the economics of veal production into an excuse for animal cruelty.
Maybe things have changed, but back in the old days, veal was unborn calf. Since I live in cattle country and my grandparents raised cattle, I feel like I do have some insight on this. (knowledge by osmosis?) Has the meaning changed?
By the way, we always refer to a female cow as a heifer - after the age of 1 year. Then it doesn't matter how old they are as long as they are female.
[[The dairy industry is very advanced in terms of reproduction and only a very few bulls are used nationwide for genetic improvement.]]Budyonni
And yet they can't figure out how to keep cows lactating without acually producing more ("useless") cattle?
[[ Just do yourself a favor...don't believe a word what the animal rights fanatics have to say.]]
Just do the veal industry a favor, more like it.
[[ But that's a whole other can of worms you don't want me to open. ]]
I'm sure you have some very progressive ideas in that regard.
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