The cold, hard facts about veal


To the Editor:

I’m writing in reference to Valerie Sonnenthal’s Chilmark town news column in the Community section on May 21. Ms. Sonnenthal reports that on May 29, Grey Barn and Farm in Chilmark will be offering a cooking class focusing on veal dishes. She suggests that people should sign up early “if you are interested in veal.”

If people are really interested in veal, their inquiring minds would do well to question how it gets to be so succulent.

“Calves raised to make veal are severely confined. Veal calves commonly live for 18 to 20 weeks in wooden crates with chains around their neck. The chain is tethered to a crate which measures 6 feet long and 2 feet wide. The size of the crate restricts the movement of the calf to either lie down or stand; the calf can not turn around or stretch his/her limbs. Calves raised to become veal are also purposely fed an all-liquid milk substitute which is deficient in iron and fiber in order to produce anemia, which results in the pale-colored flesh typical of veal. Veal calves are slaughtered at 16-20 weeks of age, unable to walk to slaughter as their muscles are severely underdeveloped. Some veal calves are killed at just a few days old to be sold as low-grade ‘bob’ veal for products like frozen TV dinners.” (Source: MSPCA).

Those are just the cold, hard facts. But elective ignorance is more defensible than indifference. People should want to have the facts.

They should, but they don’t. If they’re forced to confront all that reality, they may feel they have to do something about it. Like stop eating veal, for instance. Far better to tune out all that unpleasantness and dig in.

Arthur Posey

West Tisbury