I think everyone enjoys seeing and holding a cooing human baby. And then there are those of us who would even find great pleasure in doing this in some minimal way with the babies of farm animals. I wish that I would be lucky enough to even be near them. One day I hope to visit Happy Trails in Ravenna, Ohio which is much like Farm Sanctuary-- rescuing farm animals in need in our environs.
Sadly though, when it comes to the precious male calves born to factory farm mothers, these poor animals end up being placed in small confining crates. How could we do this to babies of any kind? And yet it seems that as a nation we are completely indifferent to their suffering. Do you still buy veal?
I remember finding out about this horror in the 1980's when I took the time to write Provimi Veal my abhorrence. Surprisingly, they responded but said in essence --will I put my money where my mouth is? Yes, for them it was just the dollar sign which was important and compassion meant absolutely nothing to them. Of course, Provimi Veal were only one of the first to capitalize on this "by product" of the dairy industry, and this cruelty has endured since.
What I can't understand is how people can buy veal knowing just how much suffering happens to these baby calves. Nor can I understand why people are even still drinking milk- which not only causes suffering to mother cows, but to their calves as well.
Today I received the Humane Activist put out by Michael Markarian, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. The first line of introduction was good news. It read:
"Catelli Brothers., a veal and lamb supplier and slaughterhouse in New Jersey, quietly announced in March that it will no longer slaughter animals at its Shrewsbury plant."
Two years ago a Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) investigator exposed numerous abusive and inhumane slaughter practices there:
"Still-conscious calves struggling while hanging upside down on a conveyor belt, calves being shot numerous times before reaching unconsciousness, a truck driver dragging a downed calf with a chain around his neck, and plant managers twisting calves' ears and pulling them by their tails."
In 2009 a Bushway Packing veal facility in Vermont was exposed by an HSUS investigator of workers kicking, slapping, and repeatedly shocking with electric prods calves only days old.
America the Beautiful? I don't think so. Thankfully, the US Department of Agriculture shut down this Vermont facility, and a felony cruelty conviction was handed down to them. Two cruel slaughterhouses shut down!
Now the need to address a loophole in the current downed animal regulations that gives an incentive to workers to do everything they can to bring downed calves to the slaughter floor. These workers can be seen kicking, beating, prodding, and dragging these poor downed calves to the slaughter floor.
The HSUS filed a legal petition asking the USDA to require that calves brought to slaughter and unable to rise and walk be humanely euthanized and excluded from the food supply. Over 50,000 people signed this petition asking the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to support this change, and finally in May 2015- the USDA released a proposed rule to close this loophole.
Thanks and gratitude are owed to the many members of Congress who had encouraged the USDA to implement this policy. Ninety- two members of the House led by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), and Grace Meng, (D-NY), and 13 senators led by Senators Brian Schatz, (D-Hawaii), and Cory Booker, (D-NJ) wrote to the USDA in support of this proposal.
The USDA has agreed that this regulatory loophole needs to be closed and that it is time for the Obama administration to finalize the rule and plug this downer loophole. While this is good news for the downer calves, I am praying for the day when more people will realize that buying and eating veal is cruel, and it will no longer be on their shopping list until these calves are allowed to enjoy freedom of some kind. If it were a problem facing humans, we would find a solution. Why not find one for these poor calves? It cannot come soon enough for the poor crated and downer calves who are brutalized by cruel workers.
As a high school student, after school I earned a little extra money working in a small Chinese restaurant. A free meal came with the job and I often ordered breaded veal. Believe me, I would never have ordered it had I known about calf suffering. I am sorry it took me so long to learn, but it is a lesson I will now never forget. Vegan food is not only delicious, but it is compassionate.
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