The meat from calves (often male dairy calves) is known as veal.
In many countries, including the US, veal production is closely linked to the dairy industry. Since male dairy calves cannot produce milk and are often considered unsuitable for beef production, they are targeted by veal operations.
In the US, veal calves are typically transported to auction houses, sold, and transported to veal farms. The transportation process is very stressful on the calves and sometimes results in injuries.
Veal production in the US and EU
There are approximately 450,000 calves raised for veal in the US each year.
When produced under the best conditions, veal need not be an especially cruel meal. Several higher welfare alternatives are available to consumers. While most veal calves in the US experience poor welfare due to rearing, feeding, and housing techniques, calves can achieve higher welfare with group housing, access to straw, and solid food, and by being fed by their mothers.
The EU provides significant protection for veal calves by requiring group housing beyond eight weeks of age and fibrous rations beyond two weeks of age. Some EU countries, such as the UK, provide additional protections above the EU minimum.