Sunday, January 17, 2016

Reducing the cruelty in food--WSJ on trends in veal production

As we get more prosperous, we are becoming more concerned about what we eat. Here's a story from the WSJ about veal--meat from calves.

Why You Might Consider Ordering the Veal--More-palatable production methods are helping restore veal to restaurant menus  By MATTHEW KRONSBERG

"LIKE MANY WHO came of age in the 1980s, I spent years not ordering veal. News stories about the mistreatment of the calves made veal synonymous with cruelty. Images of young animals confined to constrictive crates to prevent muscle development and promote ultra-tender meat left me, and many others, with little appetite for it.

"So it has come as a surprise, recently, to see veal on the menu in restaurants known for the conscientious sourcing of their meat.
"Could veal be making a comeback? In mass-market terms, it’s unlikely. Annual U.S. consumption has fallen from 2.3 pounds per capita in 1986 to 0.3 pounds in 2014. Supply-side issues are a factor—gender-selection methods now used in dairy-cow breeding have reduced the number of superfluous male calves, the main source of the veal industry’s livestock, and a high demand for beef has also diverted more dairy calves to beef production. Yet it’s worth noting that in the U.K. and EU, where crating veal calves was banned in 1990 and 2007 respectively, consumption has increased. While there’s still no ban stateside, the American Veal Association has set a goal for members to voluntarily eliminate crates by 2017, said association president, Dale Bakke.

"Many small producers have already adopted more humane practices. The veal served at Upland and Cypress Tavern hews closely to the European style of husbandry, with calves raised in group pens or even open pasture. "

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