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Male Calf Cruelty

Story ID:11077
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various usa
Year:2016
Person:Michael Markarian
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I think everyone enjoys seeing and holding a cooing human baby. And then there
are those of us who would even find great pleasure in doing this in some minimal
way with the babies of farm animals. I wish that I would be lucky enough to even
be near them. One day I hope to visit Happy Trails in Ravenna, Ohio which is much
like Farm Sanctuary – rescuing farm animals in need in our environs.

Sadly though, when it comes to the precious male calves born to factory farm
mothers, these poor animals end up being placed in small confining crates. How
could we do this to babies of any kind? And yet it seems that as a nation we are
completely indifferent to their suffering. Do you still buy veal?

I remember finding out about this horror in the 80’s when I took the time to write
Provimi Veal my abhorence. Surprisingly, they responded but said in essence –will
I put my money where my mouth is? Yes, for them it was just the dollar sign which
was important and compassion meant absolutely nothing to them. Of course, they
were only just the first to capitalize on this “by product” of the dairy industry, and
this cruelty has endured since. What I can’t understand is how people can buy veal
knowing just how much suffering happens to these baby calves. Nor can I understand
why people are even still drinking milk- which not only causes suffering to mother
cows, but to their calves as well.

Today I received the Humane Activist put out by Michael Markarian, President of the
Humane Society Legislative Fund. The first line of introduction was good news. It read:
“Catelli Bros., a veal and lamb supplier and slaughterhouse in New Jersey, quietly
announced in March that it will no longer slaughter animals at its Shrewsbury plant.”

Two years ago an HSUS investigator had exposed numerous abusive inhumane slaughter
practices there: “Still-conscious calves struggling while hanging upside down on a conveyor
belt, calves being shot numerous times before reaching unconsciousness, a truck driver
dragging a downed calf with a chain around his neck, and plant managers twisting calves’
ears and pulling them by their tails.”

In 2009 a Bushway Packing veal facility in Vermont was exposed by an HSUS investigator
of workers kicking, slapping, and repeatedly shocking with electric prods calves only days old.
America the Beautfiful? I don’t think so. Thankfully, the USDA shut down this Vermont facility
and a felony cruelty conviction was handed down to them.

Two cruel slaughterhouses shut down and now the need to address a loophole in the current
downed animal regulations that gives an incentive to workers to do everything they can to
bring downed calves to the slaughter floor. These workers can be seen kicking, beating,
prodding, and dragging these poor downed calves to the slaughter floor.

The HSUS filed a legal petition asking the USDA to require that calves brought to slaughter
and unable to rise and walk be humanely euthanized and excluded from the food supply. Over
50,000 people signed this petiiton asking the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to support
this change, and finally in May 2015- the USDA released a proposed rule to close this loophole.

Thanks and gratitude are owed to the many members of Congress who had encouraged the
USDA to implement this policy. Ninety- two members of the House led by Reps.Chris Smith
R-N.J., and Grace Meng, D-N.Y., and 13 senators led by Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and
Cory Booker, D-N.J. wrote to the USDA in support of this proposal.

The USDA has agreed that this regulatory loophole needs to be closed and that it is time
for the Obama administration to finalize the rule and plug this downer loophole.

While this is good news for the downer calves, I am praying for the day when more people
will realize that buying and eating veal is cruel and it will no longer be on their shopping
list until these calves are allowed to enjoy freedom of some kind. If it were a problem
facing humans, we would find a solution. Why not find one for these poor calves? It can’t
come soon enough for the poor crated and downer calves who are brutalized by cruel men.

As a high school student, after school I earned a little extra money working in a small
Chinese restaurant. A free meal came with the job and I often ordered breaded veal.
Believe me, I would never have ordered it had I known about calf suffering. I am sorry it
took me so long to learn, but it is a lesson I will now never forget. Vegan food is not only
delicious, but it is compassionate.