When we think of calves we often picture the traditional idyllic meadowland scene of pastoral beauty. Solid leafy trees, verdant grass swaying with the breeze and a cow with her calf strolling peacefully together, stopping occasionally to graze.
Here in the west, the reality for most calves is birth, followed by a noisy, packed ride in the back of a truck with a slaughter-house at the end of the journey. For some their lives are a little longer. No strolls in green fields though. No gentle nuzzling from mother. They are penned into a small crate. They can just stand up, barely able to move. The idea is that if their muscles/meat are unused, then the flesh/meat will be tender. Clever no?
Renamed “veal” so that meat consumers don’t have to consider that they’re eating calves, they also have a journey to a slaughter-house after their months of captivity. Sometimes the journey is hundreds of miles from Britain to Europe. The terror and discomfort must be unimaginable.
Often seen as a mere by-product of the milk industry, their welfare is hardly contemplated and their fate seemingly decided. Thankfully some groups are doing their best to change much of this. We are one. Another would be: http://www.ciwf.org.uk.what-we-do/calves/take-action/default.aspx
Just because this has gone on for decades here in the west, does not mean that change is impossible. Let’s all “take-action” and perhaps one day all calves will be born to lead happy, productive lives. (Here’s Gaitama, one of our lucky, happy calves.)