What? Female Calves Get Vealed Too?
I was trying to mow the lawn (with my battery-powered Neuton) and look who was in my way, watching as intently as a Border Collie awaiting instruction. The Neuton is so quiet that I mowed inches away from him and he didn’t flinch.
Today I think I’ll start a series about misconceptions, rumors, and untruths that activists unknowingly spread regarding animals. The first one, brought to us by Deb Durant, is that:
It isn’t just the baby boys who are killed, it is the majority of the baby girls as well. Again, either at birth or for veal. I think it is a common misconception for us that it is only the baby males who are killed for veal.
It makes sense, once you think about it – it is all about numbers. The farmers have room for only a certain number of female cows, who have five or six years when they produce enough milk to satisfy the farmers, after which they’re sent to be turned into hamburgers. But during those five or six years they have a baby every year, for how else will they produce milk? Since only babies need to drink milk, mothers produce milk only as long as their offspring are babies. And so every year the farmers forcibly impregnate the cows they keep for milk. Yet only one “replacement” is needed by the farmer over the span of a dairy cow’s life, and so all of the rest of the babies will be killed at birth or at 16 weeks, regardless of whether they are boys or girls.
Did you all know this? I’ve been spreading the veal-calves-are-males rumor for decades.
I’m embarrassed to say that I never thought the whole thing through, otherwise I would’ve realized that if just the boys became veal, and the girls were milk machines, the numbers of milk machines wouldn’t remain constant, but would increase each year.
I guess I’ll be revising my pamphlet yet again, which is fine as I rarely consider any writing project "done," and in fact I spend most of my days revising something.
Does anyone have any other tidbits we spread that aren’t accurate? Any stats that are of concern? For instance, one of my pet peeves is: 10 billion animals are killed around the world every year for food. Um, it’s 10 billion in this country alone, those are just the land animals, and 9 billion of them are chickens. Think about it: there are 6.6 billion people on the planet, and that would mean each one is responsible for the deaths of fewer than two animals. I ask you, does that sound right?
My all-time favorite, for all you pizza fanatics, is: Nobody died for pizza. Au contraire, and I’m not even talking about the horrible life and death of dairy cows. Rennet, which gives mozzarella its yummy elasticity, is an enzyme taken from the mucous lining of the fourth stomach of the calf. THE VEAL CALF.
And thus we come full circle.
Technically, eating pizza is just as bad as eating veal. Tell that one to your vegetarian friends who can’t manage to kick the pizza habit!
PS-I’m talking about the pizza at the average restaurant or even in the freezer at your local supermarket.