It is a sad fact that concern about mother child bonds stops at the species barrier. Many, perhaps most people lamenting human separations eat veal and other dairy products with no guilt, remorse or even awareness of the agony they engender.
Few want know the fate of male calves, an unwanted byproduct of the dairy industry to keep cows pregnant and yielding milk, sold for slaughter. Male calves sold for "bob veal" are ripped from their mothers at birth, sometimes before they can even walk.
These male calves arrive at slaughterhouses weak and injured, testified a federal meat inspector to Congress. "[After their truck journey, they are forced to endure] yet another 12-18 hours without food, when already they had been deprived of sustenance for perhaps days, since they were usually removed from their mothers immediately after birth," said veterinarian Dean Wyatt. "It always broke my heart that employees would carry the bodies of these dead baby calves out of the pen because they died of dehydration and starvation."
Male calves who are not sent to slaughter at birth are grown for marketed veal products in crates in which they can't turn around or in outdoor sheds, surrounded by snow in the winter. (pictured)
Dumb animals should not be compared to humans some would say. But videos clearly show mother cows rushing after their babies as they are taken away for veal and even following the trucks down the road that are taking their babies to slaughter. (pictured)
The haunting bellows of mother cows deprived of their young are so loud, they regularly inspire people living near the farms to call the police, according to published reports.
The newborn calves also know their loss. Calves being sold at Cambridge Valley Livestock Market for $40 a head, some with their umbilical cords still attached, swarmed a Rolling Stone reporter who entered their pen.
"Since being ripped from their mothers, they've barely been fed and will nurse anything resembling a teat," he wrote. "They find one, of sorts, in my leather jacket. Its worn-in hide must taste like love."