Eat British veal with a clear conscience, says RSPCA

Animal welfare groups back sale of home-grown meat

Animal-rights groups have been campaigning to get it off the menu for decades, but now, in an abrupt U-turn, they are clamouring for veal to come back to British dining tables.

The RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) are trying to redeem the meat in the eyes of UK consumers – most of whom now view veal as the ultimate ethical no-no.

"Veal shouldn't be a dirty word," said Rowen West-Henzell, food business manager for CIWF. "There is a process of re-education that needs to occur. British rose veal is something we are happy to endorse."

High-welfare veal is known as rose veal, as calves are not fed the restricted, low-iron diet that is needed to produce the traditional white veal meat.

Veal – which comes from the meat of calves between six and eight months old – is widely eaten in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy, but currently has a limited market in the UK.

"Over the next year we will be promoting the consumption of rose veal as a way of dealing with the problem of wasted bull calves," said Ms West- Henzell.

Last year around 260,000 young, male dairy calves were condemned as "waste products" in the UK, as they don't produce milk and are rarely used for beef due to their low muscle tone. These animals are either shot at birth or exported to the Continent.

"Eating British veal would be great for our farmers," said Gwyn Jones, the chairman of the National Farmers' Union Dairy Board. "No farmers want to export bull calves, but there has to be a market for veal here."

Marks & Spencer has this month launched a range of rose-veal steaks, ribs and burgers, with meat provided by bull calves from its existing dairy herd. CIWF and the RSPCA are trying to encourage retailers that don't stock veal – such as Asda, Morrisons and the Co-op – and restaurateurs to follow suit.

"At the moment the UK has a small market for veal, but the more restaurants use it, the more people will eat it, and then farmers will rear the cattle," said Calie Woozley, a spokeswoman for the RSPCA.

"All those terrible pictures of calves being transported in veal crates are firmly etched on people's minds – it is hard to change that. Veal gets lumped in with foie gras as something untouchable, and we need to educate people that this isn't the case – British veal is OK," she added.

British veal was recently brought to the public attention on the Channel 4 show The F Word, in which the journalist Janet Street-Porter raised veal calves as part of her attempt to encourage people to eat more British veal.

However, the RSPCA and CIWF have been criticised by fellow animal-rights groups Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and Viva! (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals).

"While the plan is well-intentioned, the answer to saving calves from long-distance transport, confinement in cruel, tiny crates, and slaughter soon after birth doesn't lie in encouraging consumers to eat more British meat," said a Peta spokesperson. "Anyone who is concerned about the welfare of veal calves should dump dairy and go vegan."

To have your say on this or any other issue visit www.independent.co.uk/IoSblogs

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £32,000 Uncapped

    £22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £10,000 Uncapped - Part Time

    £7500 - £10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness chai...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Digital Marketing Executive (CRM, Eve...

    Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Sales / Customer Service Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: The role is likely to be 4on 4 off, days and ...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea