The veal market is undergoing a slow but unstoppable revolution. There is a move away from age-old clashing viewpoints, which saw an unquestioning consumer acceptance of outdated animal rearing practices in traditional veal consuming countries on the one hand, and the outright rejection of veal as “cruel meat” in others. In line with rising animal welfare concerns, traditional veal eaters are starting to modify their expectations, while former veal rejecters are gradually getting used to the idea that veal can be produced humanely, and also that choosing veal represents a step towards sustainability.
Of crates and anaemia
Not all that long ago, from the standpoint of animal welfare watchers, eating veal was regarded just as abominable a culinary habit as the consumption of foie gras. However, unlike the latter, good-quality veal can indeed be produced without undue animal suffering. Great strides have been made in that direction over the last decade, and efforts are still ongoing.
A major milestone was achieved in 2007, when the EU finally outlawed the infamous veal crates, originally designed to restrict the animals’ movement in order to keep their muscles soft. In the US, although still legal, veal crates are used less and less, and the American Veal Association plans to phase them out by 2017.