*reader discretion is advised*
Something happened to me last night. I managed to catch a TV programme on channel 4 called Jimmy and the Giant Supermarket. I watched a programme with Jimmy Doherty many many years ago where he went about setting up his own high welfare pig farm. I kinda fell in love with him. Although I have been vegetarian since the age of 10 I have always had many different and varied reasons for being so. The main one being I just don’t like meat. The texture, taste…just not for me. And I have always felt that the animals welfare standard is of the up most importance if people do chose to eat meat (which I am fine with). I’ve always struggled to explain my position on meat eating because my reasons for not eating it are different to most other non meat eaters.
But I digress. The synopsis of the Jimmy and the Giant Supermarket programme is… ‘Jimmy Doherty goes inside Britain’s biggest supermarket to come up with innovative ideas to produce equally cheap but higher-welfare alternatives to their best-selling meat products’
Brilliant. So I started to watch the programme, well with one eye on the TV anyway because I was crocheting at the same time. Jimmy decides to make veal meatballs as this is a little used meat. And as veal is a product of the diary industry he goes to a farm to watch the killing of 3 male dairy calves. The farmer didn’t want to be on camera because he is scared of backlash and they are not allowed to say where the farm is. Which to me says a lot about this issue.
Now, I feel like I should explain my position on veal. For me its a very black and white issue. For some it may be completely against reasoning. Ready for it?
If you drink milk, you should eat veal!
That’s right…a vegetarian who thinks its ok to eat veal. Well….kind of. For the last couple of years I have had that stand point. I have been a complete hypocrite (consuming dairy) and kept that opinion to myself and my housemate simply because I don’t and haven’t wanted to start an entire shite storm over it. I drink (drank) milk, but as I don’t eat meat I have never eaten veal (or beef for that matter…but that’s a story for another day).
If you are drinking milk, eating yogurt, enjoying cheese, why do we have such an issue with eating the by-product of that industry which is veal? I am talking about British rose or (even better) free range veal. Not the poor animals which are kept in crates.
These male dairy calves are killed when they are only a day old (if not younger) simply because there is no market for them. I sat and watched 3 Jersey bull calves be shot in the head with a pistol. They were completely healthy animals, they were simply killed because they are the wrong sex. With any pregnancy there is of course a 50:50 chance of getting male or a female. That equates to 100,000 healthy calves which were killed in the UK alone (!) last year simply for being male.
The moment the gun was out of the mans pocket I was in hysterics crying. I have buried my head in the sand and tried to ignore this ‘fact of life’ for far too long. Something clicked inside of me. I feel sickened inside myself that I have been ignorant and may as well be holding that gun to that tiny calf’s head myself. As humans we are the only animal who drinks another animals milk. We are the only animal who drinks milk past infancy. Why do we feel that the world owes us? That nature owes us?
Where does this leave me? Well, I made a decision there and then that I can no longer consume dairy products. But I do feel that the public view on veal HAS to change. Or…
If you don’t eat veal, don’t drink milk!
Here are a load of links…I hope they help someone. Or at least open your eyes to this issue. Knowledge is power.