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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Good News For Carnivores

posted by on April 18 at 16:15 PM


It’s OK to eat veal again!

From the NYT:

When photographs of formula-fed veal calves tethered in crates where they could not turn around appeared across the country, sales of veal plummeted. They have never recovered. In the 1950s and 1960s Americans ate four pounds of veal a year on average. Today per capita consumption is around half a pound a year.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that some farmers finally got the message and changed the way their calves were raised.

Some returned to the old-fashioned method of putting them out to pasture with their mothers. …

Others got rid of the crates but kept the calves in barn pens, letting them mingle with other calves and giving them room to walk and turn around. …

Those changes on the farm have led to corollary changes in the kitchen — a culinary serendipity that is just beginning to be recognized. Veal from calves fed sufficient grass or grain as well as milk has real character and flavor. For anyone who knows only the bland old-fashioned veal, it is as if a brand-new ingredient has been discovered. Tasting this new veal is not unlike biting into your first heirloom tomato from the garden after a lifetime of eating supermarket tomatoes bred for durability.

This is exciting news for those of us who like to eat meat but feel guilty causing undue suffering and environmental awfulness. Now if only they can figure out a way to deal with that methane problem…

RSS icon Comments


No, it's not okay to eat veal.

Posted by Catman | April 18, 2007 4:23 PM

If you're already eating adult animals, why pussy out at baby animals? They all die for your pleasure anyway.

Posted by Gloria | April 18, 2007 4:25 PM

The "bland old-fashioned veal" was so off-putting.

Heirloom Veal is where it's at.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | April 18, 2007 4:25 PM

Once we solve the guilt-free foie gras problem our utopian carnivoria will become a reality.

All this Slog commenting makes me question how I am still employed.

Oh, right.



Posted by jackie treehorn | April 18, 2007 4:25 PM

Veal is vile.

Posted by Biff | April 18, 2007 4:26 PM

Now, why not switch to Buffalo Veal? Less methane, free range, but still morally objectionable ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 18, 2007 4:38 PM

'Now if only they can figure out a way to deal with that methane problem…'

That's right Erica, demand that someone else take responsibility and do something about it.
Go eat some bacon hotdog, and quit complaining you whinyass.

Posted by jonathan | April 18, 2007 4:40 PM

Ask, and the Germans deliver. A pill that helps cows digest methane. Supposed to be good for them, too: more energy extracted from the feed.

Posted by Some Jerk | April 18, 2007 4:50 PM

i eat lamb. they're young & cute.

i eat eggs from "cage-free" chickens.

so why say no to veal if they're "cage-free"? since i've crossed the cute-baby-animal line already, i don't think i can.

Posted by Max Solomon | April 18, 2007 4:50 PM

I will only eat veal that has been force-fed pate'.

Posted by elswinger | April 18, 2007 4:57 PM

I'm so glad I don't eat meat anymore, the longer I go without it the more disgusting the whole prospect is. I don't miss it one bit, there are so many other things to eat besides little cute well fed baby calves.

Posted by Sally Struthers Lawnchair | April 18, 2007 5:14 PM

Thanks @8- looks like you have alot say to say on your blog about the transit issue. it's just too complex of an issue for me to belabor, but kudos to you.

i like comedy and technology best. Sarah Silverman has a sort of funny song in that movie of hers last year. She comes down real hard on jews for driving german cars. i don't know, I think the germans have superior scientists, thank god they exist, and i've gotten to ride as a passenger in a Mercedes, which felt like heaven. This Methane pill sounds like a good thing.

Posted by jonathan | April 18, 2007 5:20 PM

Really, eating veal already helps address the methane problem. Specifically, if you eat 'em while they're young, they have less time on the planet to produce methane, so total methane production per cow/calf is reduced compared to the year/18-month cows that most folks eat. Plus the little guys are tastier :)

(I'm kidding about the methane problem by the way, because it requires more calves to produce the same amount of protein in the bigger cow, so it's probably all about equal in the end)

Posted by md | April 18, 2007 5:21 PM

Methane is only a fraction of the problem. The meat industry produces more greenhouse gasses than all of the cars/trucks in the world combined. The meat industry is the single greatest destroyer of the environment in the world (air, land, and water).

Not to mention that eating meat cuts an average of 6-10 years off your life and supports major Republican financial backers.

Eating meat is probably the least environmentalist or progressive choice you can make in your day-to-day life.

(one of many sources)

Posted by jamier | April 18, 2007 6:23 PM

I'm with jamier. Fuck cows and their emissions. If Sound Transit would divert .05% of its tax revenue to killing cows, I'd get behind ST2. Let's cut GHG's!!!!!!

Posted by roscoe | April 18, 2007 6:46 PM

Jamier brings up a good point, and it's the only one that consistently provides me with a good reason to stay veg.

Another interesting thing about that stat - Livestock raising creates huge amounts of methane and nitrous oxide (37% and 65% respectively, but far less CO2 than automobile use. Methane and nitrous oxide are far, far more effective greenhouse gases than CO2, i.e. they trap much more UV radiation. However, CO2 stays put in the atmosphere for far longer. The way I read this? If we cut down on the amount of livestock we raise for meat (or at the very least, use smarter/greener methods) it will cut down on atmospheric greenhouse gas faster than if we cut down on auto use. ('course, CO2 is bad for other reasons, such as oceanic acidity, but that's a whole new can of worms)

Posted by John | April 18, 2007 7:06 PM

They haven't changed anything about veal raising in Whatcom county in Washington. They've got those damn little plastic beehives all over the place. If you're going to eat veal, please, know where it came from - don't assume it's free-range. I've got no problem with eating meat, but the conditions those calves are in are pretty horrific. Otherwise, that's good news. I've been hoping for a while that people would wise up to raising them that way.

And for you guys opposed to eating calves because they're cute... veal is a byproduct, not a primary product. It's something that exists because dairies only need so many cows. The cows have to calve every year to continue to give milk, and once a herd is up to size, the calves aren't needed. They'd be killed one way or the other - so I'd just like it if they had a decent life on the way through.

Posted by wench | April 18, 2007 10:23 PM

The average vegetarian human produces as much methane as the average cow.

Posted by Sean | April 18, 2007 11:02 PM

I ate meat for over thirty years, until I came to the realization that to kill another animal so that I can eat when there are non-violent alternatives available was wrong. I hope there will come a time when we understand as a people that animals are not ours to destroy, but instead are our responsibility to protect.

As Albert Einstein said:
"Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet"

Posted by Chris | April 18, 2007 11:06 PM

See, this is why I like seafood.

OK, admittedly, I've got a 20 pound ham that I just bought (99 cents a pound!) in my fridge for dinner this weekend - and lunch - and dinner - and lunch ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 18, 2007 11:45 PM

Your post reads like a news release from the Cattlemen's Beef Board. You can continue to "like" your meat, furthering your contribution to undue suffering and environmental awfulness or you can amend your diet in favor of a more compassionate and sustainable world.

Posted by Steve in PDX | April 19, 2007 12:28 AM

I was under the impression that "real" or "original" veal was from an unborn calf, tender and succulent meat, such as it is, back in Roman/kind of end of Roman times, up to Gallia...

in any case Demi-glace and Espagnole are sublime, and making them is something of an art unto itself.

Posted by mmm baby calves | April 19, 2007 4:58 AM

I only eat babies on special occasions. Grown ups for regular meals.

Posted by Mark Mitchell | April 19, 2007 7:20 AM

and up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong while watching how his penis patches got wet at

Posted by penis patches | April 30, 2007 12:05 PM

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