This Does Not Compute

OK, we know that male dairy calve are worth nothing and are therefore shot at birth. We know that at least part of this is because we Brits don\’t eat veal.

But in their bid to turn out ever-greater quantities of milk at ever-lower cost, dairy farmers have come to rely on what US nutritionist Sally Fallon calls "freak" cows – animals with abnormally active pituitary glands. Hard-wired to produce copious amounts of milk, they have to be fed – not on fresh pasture, the natural food of ruminants – but on high-energy feeds such as maize and cereal grains, and high-protein foods such as soya.

These walking milk factories are so gaunt and bony in frame that their calves are impossible to fatten economically. That\’s why beef farmers who once turned dairy animals into good quality meat are no longer interested. And it\’s why thousands of calves have to be exported to the continent – where the veal industry thrives – to find a market.

Erm, but what is this magic that makes it economic for a Frog to fatten up the calf, but not the Brit?

3 thoughts on “This Does Not Compute”

  1. I used to eat quite a lot of rose veal – as opposed to white veal – when I lived in Scotland, and very nice it is too.

    People think that veal is all calves kept in boxes and prodded with sticks, and some of the French methods of veal rearing do leave a bit to be desired (if you care about such things). Hence the difference between white and rose – free range – veal.

    As for what makes it economical in France… I’ll go with really massive EU farming subsidies…


  2. Perhaps Hugh Fearnley-Duckingstool could be persuaded to feature the wonders of free-range beef calves on his next self-publicity jaunt….?

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