The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
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Letters and Responses

Letter From Hugh About The Cruelty of Veal -
3 September 2008

Letter to the Editor of The Chronicle-Journal:

Your newspaper’s Taste section has recently presented articles praising veal (Feb.7th, ‘Veal's Appeal’), (March 14th, ‘Tender Veal Low in Fat"). Before readers rush out to their meat markets, they should know even more about veal.

All meat production involves cruelty to animals, but of all forms of meat, veal demands the cruelest treatment of its young victims. Humane societies and animal-rights advocates are pleading with consumers to shun veal, whatever its culinary attractions.

In order to produce veal, young calves are taken from their mothers and chained in crates measuring only two feet wide. The pens are so small that the calves cannot turn around, stretch, or even lie down comfortably. (After weeks of such restriction, many calves exhibit psychotic behavior, shaking, scratching, kicking, repeatedly tossing their heads.) This torturous confinement is justified, we are told, because it makes the veal “tender” since the animals’ muscles cannot develop.

These calves, moreover, are fed an all-liquid diet which is purposely deficient in iron and fiber. This food-substitute is intended to produce a borderline anemia which gives that pale-colored flesh so fancied by gourmets.

Then the little animals, never having known anything but their tiny cells, are slaughtered around twenty weeks.

If, knowing these facts, a person can still eat veal, then so be it; but, it seems to me then that, however tender the meat, the heart is hard and the conscience is dead.

With much love,
Hugh R. L. MacDonald

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