DCFoodies.com The politics of food: Veal - DCFoodies.com

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Sep 01, 2009



Much of this post reads like an attempt to dispel cognitive dissonance. There's hedging all over the place...about how veal "can be" humane, or that you've "never been very comfortable with" the way baby cows' movements are restricted so its muscles remain soft and tasty. And you write that "anger" over veal is based on "interests and agendas," yet you don't say what those interests and agendas are. Perhaps you'll address that in your next post.

Moreover, the dearth of links to support your claims is troubling, and leads me to believe that your evidence is lacking. Sure, you link to a small farm in Virginia that humanely kills baby cows, and what percentage of all veal do you suppose this farm produces? Perhaps %.01?


Thanks for the comment, Sourshoes. I do hedge a bit, because food is not a black and white subject matter. Yes, veal can be raised in a humane way, such as at Smith Meadows Farm, but the consumer has to seek it out. And I do eat veal, even though I'm well aware of the hutch method. I've also bought chickens from the grocery store even though I know mother nature never intended to create an 8 pound roaster. And while I believe organizations like PETA, the Humane Society and others care very deeply about animal welfare, their job as advocates is to argue one side of an issue. They are not looking for a middle ground, such as a humane way to producing foie gras. Many animal rights groups push for the elimination of veal and dairy products, despite the existence of alternatives to the hutch method (though to PETA's credit, they do support hutch-free veal). I understand their position, but I also understand they are a biased source with an agenda. I should have been more clear about what I meant by that statement, Sourshoes. As for the links, I could have added a bunch more, but as a general rule I tend not to. I usually link to stories we've done in the past, as well as purveyors and breweries I'm featuring. However, for my next post on foie gras I will make sure to provide all the necessary links.


PETA and the Humane Society both support cage-free veal:



There is a difference between a "bias" and a point-of-view. I don't know why PETA and the Humane Society are any more "biased" than you are. I don't think any of you are biased; rather, you have a point-of-view. There's nothing dishonest about arguing one side of an issue.


Bias and point-of-view are much the same. Advocacy organizations are in the business of arguing their points of view, and there's nothing wrong with that. But as a source of information, you have to keep in mind that they have a particular point of view, or bias, and either acknowledge that or seek another source of information. When I'm looking for information on veal and foie gras production, I'm more interested in sources like Forrest Pritchard, who raises livestock, as well as newspaper articles, and noted authors on the subject, like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Mark Caro. I did review the materials provided by the animal rights groups, but as I wasn't looking for a means of eliminating the production of veal and foie gras, I decided not to cite them any more than I did.


When I read Drew's post, I didn't get a sense that he was trying to argue one side vs the other but rather give a balances perspective on it all and let the reader decide. He also is honest and up front about how he feels about eating veal, and that it is possible to find humanely raised veal if you search it out. Maybe that's just because I know him personally though.

I do agree with the point that regular veal tastes better though.

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