Social Media Posts Make Claims About Veal Crates-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Viral videos and social media posts that claim to show pictures of veal crates that calves are stored in to limit their mobility and keep their meat tender have been circulating for years.
There are plenty of valid arguments about the treatment of veal calves, but these posts and videos do not show “veal crates.”
Claims about veal crates have been in widespread circulation among animal rights activists and their supports since 2014. That year, a YouTube video tilted “Baby Calves in Veal Crates” was posted, and a Facebook post showing an image of rows upon rows of so-called veal crates began making the rounds:
There’s a big problem with these claims, however. The images and videos show pictures of calf hutches, not veal crates. These little plastic huts are filled with hay and provide a small fenced in grass area for calves to enjoy — which is pretty posh considering how veal calves are treated:
So, female calves that will grow up to become milk producers are given the luxury of calf hutches. The vast majority of male calves, on the other hand, are slaughtered and processed into veal at about four months of age because they’re unable to produce milk, rendering them worthless to dairy farmers.
Veal calves are kept in stanchions in veal barns that limit their mobility and prevent them from getting exercise that toughens their meat into muscle:
Animal rights advocates have long called the practice of raising veal calves inhumane. From the dairy industry prospective, however, this setup allows veal calves to receive individualized care and for their eating to be closely monitored, the USDA reports:
Today’s modern, environmentally controlled veal barns provide for animal health and safety. The barns are lighted artificially and by natural light, and a constant source of fresh air is circulated.
Individual stalls are used for each calf. These stalls provide a safe environment where the calves can stand, stretch, groom themselves and lay down in a natural position. These pens are invaluable to the health of the animal. They allow the calves to be individually looked after. The stall’s slotted floors allow for efficient removal of waste.
…Individual stalls allow veal farmers and veterinarians to closely monitor the health of each calf and properly treat a calf with a specific, government approved antibiotic. Veal farmers monitor each calf for health deficiencies such as anemia. The feed is controlled to meet the calves’ iron needs. Health products for use with veal calves are approved by the Food and Drug Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services before being put on the market. The FDA also regulates information on the labeling of the product, the doses permitted, and withdrawal period.
So, again, there are plenty of valid questions about raising veal calves — but these social media posts of so-called “veal crates” undercut them. That’s why we’re calling this one fiction.