Rose Veal: Ethical veal is not an oxymoron
At Revival Meats, we feel every animal has its place on the farm. But sometimes, treating each animal in an ethical manner means figuring out what to do with the ones traditionally deemed useless by the conventional livestock industry.
Why veal exists: Calves equal milk
Calving is an integral part of the dairy business. Without giving birth each season, a cow’s milk dries up. Many female calves, known as heifers, grow up to become their mothers’ replacements in the dairy chain. Male calves, though, aren’t an essential part of the operation. In conventional ranching, these surplus animals are either euthanized soon after birth, or sold to outside producers to make veal.
Veal calves used in industrial operations are usually shackled and fed a grossly deficient diet to ensure their meat remains pale and tender. This inhumane crating system is the crux of most Americans’ objections to veal—and rightly so. As Jane Black of the Washington Post wrote, “For most, the methods used to produce tender, milky-colored meat aren’t a worthwhile tradeoff.”
Rose Veal: Conscience meets taste
At Revival Meats, we agree with Jane Black’s sentiment, but we also feel it’s important to give a good life to those calves brought into the world so their mothers can keep us in milk for our morning cereal and grande lattes. As the market for veal has waned, nearly all surplus calves are destroyed—a wasteful and cruel reality.
To do right by these animals, we’ve partnered with a handful of local dairies that treat their animals humanely. Their cows and calves spend their entire lives on grass; calves roam the pastures grazing, and drinking as much of their mother’s milk as they desire.
When these surplus calves are weaned, we purchase and process them to be sold as Rose Veal. (You may have read of this humanely raised veal being sold in other areas as Real Veal or Vittelone.) Compared with pasty-white, flavorless confinement veal, Rose Veal takes on a mild flavor and a beautiful deep pink hue, due to the calves’ diet of grass and natural milk.
And it’s a flavor you’re going to love. Just ask the New York Times: “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.”