What is Veal?

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What is Veal?

Veal is the meat from young male cows, usually up to 6 months old.  But sometimes, young male calves are slaughtered immediately after birth to produce “bob veal” – a highly priced variety.  Sometime after birth, the male calves are separated from their mothers because they are considered to be of no use to the dairy industry.  The female calves are spared early slaughtering because they are kept for milk production in the future.  After separation from their mothers, young male calves are said to be put in small crates.  Inside these small boxes, some are given special diets to stunt the growth of muscles.  In this way, the meat will still become extremely soft and succulent when compared with the meat of fully grown cows.

Veal meat can be classified into two types depending on the way the young calves were raised.  It can either be milk-fed or grain-fed.  Milk-fed veal is also known as special-fed veal and has a pink color, leaner meat, and fine texture.  Grain-fed veal on the other hand is darker in color and has more fat.

Raw veal should be used within one or two days, but larger portions or cuts may be consumed in three to five days.  As with other meats, veal can also be refrigerated for longer periods but with a decrease in quality.  Veal meat can be cooked using dry or moist heat, depending on the meat cut.  Roasting, grilling, frying, and broiling are good for tender cuts like cutlets, patties, and loin chops.  Stewing and braising is good for parts like shanks and breasts.

There is much controversy with veal consumption.  Many issues emerged because of how the veal meat is produced.  Animal activists have long complained that some young male calves barely see life and are raised in very cruel conditions.  While most people know veal meat as simply the meat from young calves, many are unaware of the controversial practices in raising the young cows.  At present, there are advocates on boycotting the veal meat industry, and there are also campaigns involving much consideration for animal welfare, easing part of the controversy.

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