Care board hears feedback on veal standards, big decision ahead

Editor’s Note: To read about the board’s first set of adopted standards, click here.

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — The veal subcommittee for the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board is nearing a vote of its own, and it’s getting more information along the way.

The board passed its first set of standards during its most recent meeting, Oct. 5, and is in the process of finalizing other standards, including veal production. During the public comment portion of the meeting, two members representing two animal protection organizations spoke about their concerns, and one presented the board with a document containing research it had compiled.

Public input

Corey Roscoe, representing Mercy For Animals, told the board tethering veal calves by their necks, in veal crates, is inherently wrong.

“Consumer awareness is growing on this issue,” she said. “We will continue to educate consumers about the inherent practice associated with veal crate production in Ohio and we urge the board to ban this practice.”

Her organization released an undercover video last month of veal calves raised at a farm in Wayne County, spliced with video from some other farms. The video received mixed review, and did not show any illegal activity at the farm, or mention the farm’s progress toward group housing, which the farm’s spokesperson said is on track to be complete by 2013.

Although identifying veal crates as the issue, Roscoe revealed in a press conference regarding MFA’s veal video, that the organization sees no acceptable way to raise veal.

In a video of the press conference, Roscoe said “the veal industry is inherently cruel. … We’re calling on consumers to make more compassionate choices and one of those choices is a healthy vegan diet.”

HSUS document

The board also heard from the Humane Society of the United States’ Karen Minton, who presented a summary of some research on veal crates and tethering. Minton, who is Ohio’s director for HSUS, said there have been multiple requests for such research.

Her document centered on the “intensive confinement of calves” raised for veal, stating that the majority of calves raised for veal in the United States are in this type of confinement.

The document details actions taken by other states, and mentions the American Veal Association’s resolution to phase out the use of individual pens or crates by 2017.

Minton’s document states “the current draft recommendations from the veal subcommittee inherently conflict with prevailing industry standards, as well as the AVMA guidelines.”

When given space, “healthy calves will play, gallop, buck, and kick, and when with other calves, they will also engage in play fighting,” the document reads.

The document concludes that, “our studies found that maintaining calves in crates is physically detrimental to the calf, something that is common knowledge in the industry.”

Big decision

State Veterinarian Tony Forshey, who leads the veal subcommittee, said the concerns of all organizations will be weighed.

“There’s a lot of science available to support and to not support tethering,” he said.

Part of the support for tethering stems from the fact young calves penned together have a tendency to act on their suckling instincts, and may cause and re-expose abscesses on the navels of other animals.

At an earlier meeting, Forshey indicated it may be necessary to allow tethering, for a limited period of the calf’s life.

“Giving a blessing to the status quo is not necessarily the right thing to do,” he said, but noted changes need to be carefully made.

“I think this board has to take a very hard look to make sure we make the decisions to support the long-term viability of the veal industry,” he said.

The board is next scheduled to meet on Oct. 19. A vote on the veal standards could come within the next couple meetings.

About the Author

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties. More Stories by Chris Kick

10 Comments

  1. Dr. Rosset says:

    It was the individual requirements of calves that provided the need for stall raising in the first place, calves needed to be directed to their food source and kept from suckling the umbilical cord of other calves. In Europe veal is extremely expensive meat due to the animal rights laws. However, this process is very expensive and requires technology that can only be afforded by the larger farms.
    Studies by animal rights groups are not ethically done, they are often biased and ill informed. In Europe such groups are banned from policy making decisions since they have no training in animal husbandry. Their so called studies should not be used to set policy on any animal care program. Preachy animal activists would love to see the day when no one eats Grandma’s veal parmigiana. The day when talk of veal osso bucco draws the sort of sneers reserved for filterless cigarettes and morning martinis.
    Citing antiquated “facts” about the veal industry, these anti-veal zealots continue to spread guilt-inducing propaganda. They compare animal agriculture to the Nazi Holocaust. They liken their anti-meat crusade to the Civil Rights movement. And for the save-the-calves crowd, a political vendetta against veal chops and Weiner schnitzel is just the first step toward a world free of steaks, milk, zoos, leather shoes, and animal-assisted medical research. Veal is produced in the Netherlands according to stringent regulations. In 2008 the existing IKB quality scheme for veal calves was updated. IKB stands for Integrale Keten Beheersing – total surveillance of animal production. There are two separate schemes for veal calves: one for animals producing white meat and one for those yielding rosé meat.
    Almost all the Dutch calf farmers comply with the IKB regulations. Through these schemes, the veal-calf sector provides guarantees for animal welfare and animal health, food safety, and meat quality. Compliance with IKB also implies compliance with the European hygiene regulations for food and feed.
    IKB calf farmers have a contract with a single veterinarian and have a medical treatment plan. Important aspects of the IKB programme are careful and rational use of antibiotics and their registration.
    Animal welfare has always been a key concern in the Dutch calf farming sector. The Netherlands was the first country in Europe where the calf sector introduced group housing of its own accord. Since 2009 all veal sold in Dutch supermarkets is awarded a ‘star’ by the ‘ Beter Leven’ (Better Life) quality mark of the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals. Veal granted this quality mark complies with extra high demands placed on animal welfare and costs more. That is why in Europe food is so much more expensive than in the USA. Europeans will spend as much as 35% of their family budget on food whereas Americans will spend 10% allowing them to buy other products and pay for their homes. In Europe most people cannot afford to buy their own home. Most people in the US find it difficult to make a living now and unlike Europe without mass transit they must carry the cost of a car and gasoline to live in America. Increasing food costs is what animal rights groups want so you won’t have high quality protein to eat because they believe you shouldn’t be eating meat although biology, mother nature, or God intended you to do so to live a healthy life. 1 our every 5 human beings cannot digest plant protein and children who have Celiac’s disease will actually suffer to the point of death on plant protein. Before you advocate a vegan diet you had better read up on the consequences to young men and women that go beyond eating disorders. The darkside includes death, damage to internal organs and the bones when putting children on this diet. For boys the soy is a real problem and its the only vegetable that comes close to the complex proteins found in cows milk. Where this concept for animal rights comes from is Hitler who used it against his opposition. Singer the leader of the animal rights movement has espoused this line of thinking not because he cares about animals or humans, but just to see how far a strange idea can be carried out in society. His last article in the New York Times called on all of our young people to neuter themselves and then party down until the last human being dies out. The main identifier of a cult is that it requires you to remove meat from your diet on the pretext that it is cleansing. However the real purpose of the cult in having you stop ingesting meat is because meat rebuilds the body and the brain through a balance of complex proteins and essential nutrients in combination with VB12. VB12 and these essential nutrients rebuild the cells of the brain. When you are out of balance and low in VB12 your thinking becomes irrational and your behavior responses are overly emotional.
 Here are some recent examples of the consequences of eating a vegan diet on children and young adults:
In a heartbreaking case of parents forcing a strict vegan diet, a 12-year-old girl in
Scotland has been admitted to a hospital after a life-long vegan diet 
left her with the spine of an 80-year-old. Raised on vegan meals since birth, the young child developed a
 severe case of rickets (a degenerative bone condition) and numerous 
bone fractures as a result of her nutritional deficiencies. Sadly,
this is not the first time a child has suffered a vegan-related 
health calamity.
    In a similar case five years ago, a 15-month-old child was taken into
 foster care after a strict vegan diet left her with internal
injuries, broken bones, missing teeth, and rickets. And since then,
at least two vegan children have died from similar complications. In 
one Florida case, a 5-month-old girl was still at newborn weight when
 she died from malnutrition. Her siblings were severely malnourished,
and at least two had developed rickets.
    These grievous examples show how important it is to exercise caution
 when promoting vegetarian and vegan diets —especially for children. How many children must die before these cultist have to amend their diet recommendations another 6-week-old Atlanta vegan
 died last year:
    Unless added a vegan diet will lack vitamin B12, found only in animal foods; usable
 vitamins A and D, found in meat, fish, eggs and butter; and necessary 
minerals like calcium and zinc. When babies are deprived of all these
 nutrients, they will suffer from retarded growth, rickets and nerve 
damage.
    As animal activists tout the supposed superiority of meatless eating,
it’s important to note that a vegan diet can be downright dangerous
 unless it’s undertaken with extreme caution. Not all people can digest 
protein from plant material and especially children. Extra steps like vitamin 
supplements and careful planning are particularly crucial for kids,
since their bodies are not fully developed. Yet vegan activists at 
PETA and the woefully misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible 
Medicine (PCRM) continue to push vegan diets on children.
    Some 12 million infants and young children die each year in
developing countries from complications of marasmus (protein-calorie 
deficiency) and kwashiorkor (severe protein deficiency). Diarrhea, 
dehydration, and infection are generally the immediate causes of
 death in malnourished children. Kwashiorkor manifests clinically with 
stunted growth, mental apathy, edema, a desquamating patchy rash, and
 pigment changes in the hair and skin. Children with marasmus 
typically retain mental alertness and do not have edema or rash.
 Autopsies of children dying of kwashiorkor and marasmus show
 pancreatic atrophy or fibrosis and fatty changes or fibrosis in 
the liver.
    Malnutrition is one of the many risks when raising infants and children on a vegan 
diet.

    • Sam Hill says:

      Dr. Rosset,

      I appreciate your understanding and knowledge on the animal rights movement and if willing, maybe you could provide some intellectual assistant for our efforts in Massachusetts. I also read your comments on the NJ Bear hunt. Thank you for describing the AR movement for what it truly is.

  2. AmyK1980 says:

    Asking that veal calves be better treated during their short lives is not a first step toward a vegan society. There is a long way between respecting the welfare of meat animals and veganism. Your example of Europe is proof. Europe is hardly a vegan society, yet their animal welfare laws are much stronger than ours. Is their meat a little more expensive? Probably. But Americans eat way too much meat as it is, and we will not starve if we cut back a little bit. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the cruel treatment of animals in large confinement operations, and are already cutting back themselves. Rather than discrediting your side with scare tactics and ominous warnings, you would do much better for yourself and for the animals to embrace the move toward better animal welfare. Those who consumer your product are headed that way whether you like it or not.

  3. Zeb says:

    Dr. Rosset’s posts contains numerous inaccuracies. Here are but a few:

    “1 our every 5 human beings cannot digest plant protein and children who have Celiac’s disease will actually suffer to the point of death on plant protein.” People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye and barley, though also found in other products. It’s difficult but by no means impossible to be vegetarian or vegan while living with the disease. See http://www.vegiac.com/forums/index.php for more information.

    “In a heartbreaking case of parents forcing a strict vegan diet, a 12-year-old girl in
Scotland has been admitted to a hospital after a life-long vegan diet 
left her with the spine of an 80-year-old.” In this case the unfortunate child was found to be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. The vitamin is usually manufactured by exposure to sunlight (limited in Scotland), or is consumed via fortified foods. There is nothing in her case to suggest that a vegan diet is impossible to adopt or inappropriate when applied to raising children.

    “In 
one Florida case, a 5-month-old girl was still at newborn weight when
 she died from malnutrition.” In this case, there was likely a congenital defect involved in the death; also the parents were feeding the child a raw foods vegan diet and were not careful to make sure all nutritional requirements were being met. Parental neglect is applicable here; a vegan diet is not, however much Rosset would like us to assume so, thereby automatically at fault. In all the cases mentioned (i.e. cherry picked) by Rosset, the deaths or negative medical conditions were easily avoidable. All that was lacking was sufficient information or sufficient pursuit and use of available information. Following a vegetarian or vegan diet and achieving optimum health is not difficult, nor is it necessarily inappropriate for any age group. The American Dietetic Association states: “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life-cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes.”

    “Some 12 million infants and young children die each year in
developing countries from complications of marasmus (protein-calorie 
deficiency) and kwashiorkor (severe protein deficiency).” What protein deficiency, as terrible and unfortunate as it may be, has to do with veganism is beyond me. It is not difficult, in developed nations, to find plenty of non-animal protein sources.

    In addition, Rosset precedes his extended rant against veganism by a lengthy discussion of veal production in the Netherlands, a large chunk of which was taken verbatim, and without proper acknowledgment, from The Veal Information Gateway site – http://www.veal.ca/veal-calves-in-the-netherlands-2010-report/ His point was, apparently, that if we allow stringent welfare standards to develop in the U.S., we will all become homeless. Or something along those lines, lol. “Preachy animal activists would love to see the day when no one eats Grandma’s veal parmigiana.” Animal advocates would like to see the day when animals are no longer consumed simply because some people rate satisfying their taste buds above employing an ethical standard that includes animals. Failing that, we’d like to see exploited animals treated with genuine dignity and compassion. I take it Rosset does not agree.

    Finally, the main thrust of Rosset’s argument should be noted, if for no other reason than its ridiculousness: by his tortured logic, animal advocates and vegans want to increase welfare standards so as to make meat consumption prohibitively expensive, thereby depriving everyone of life-sustaining animal protein and giving them, among other health problems, nerve damage, rickets, and fibrosis of the liver. Yup, ill health – that’s what vegans want all right.

  4. Barb Jones says:

    To AmyK1980,

    You state: “But Americans eat way too much meat as it is, and we will not starve if we cut back a little bit.” Who are you to tell any free American what they should eat? That is the bottom line for your argument. Too many people insist their beliefs should (must) be imposed on other people.

  5. FED-UP &PO'd farmer says:

    RE: comments from ZEB:

    Zeb maintains that Dr. Rossets comments had inaccuracies. As an individual who has a medical background and actually has had nutrition courses in college (yes-many of us farmers ARE educated) I will point out that YOUR comments are filled with inaccuracies-NOT Dr. Rosset’s.
    ALL non-biased nutritionists recommend a BALANCED diet including meat and dairy products. Stop posting trashy “links”-ALL your links supposedly showing PRO-vegan diets are “better” than balanced diets are COMPLETELY biased-including your “studies”. The internet has ANYTHING ANYONE wants to see or believe available…the plain truth of it that ALOT of it is simply NOT true. You are also giving false information regarding the children suffering from malnutrition-had they had a proper BALANCED diet-complete with dairy products- they would NOT have developed the conditions that they did.
    As far as people consuming a vegetarian diet: It was recommended that these people consulted their physician about their diet if they included dairy and fish; and, If they wanted a complete vegan diet with NO animal products that these people not only consulted a physician, BUT ALSO a registered nutritionist. A complete vegan diet WAS NOT recommended for children, period.

    Barb-Tell it like it is!!! This country is going to the dogs-too many people think they have the right to tell us how to live. These pathetic vegan hippocrits are OK killing and maiming plants-but then have the audacity to call us non-vegans “cruel”. I truely feel that the lack of animal products is affecting their brains-they are becoming wackier and pyschotic.

    By the way-how many calves have you people raised?? As a farmer who has raised thousands of calves, I will point out that there is NOTHING cruel about raising calves tied or individually stalled-PERIOD. The thought that it cruel IS ONLY IN YOUR HEADS!!! Calves sleep most of the time and are NOT upset or stressed at all when they are individually tied/stalled. Hands-down-they suffer much greater in group settings-even killing one another-yes, I have seen many calves killed by other calves and, for the ones put in with larger cattle, killed by other cattle. Calves also hands-down get far more infections when placed with others-something very rarely seen in individually raised calves. We farmers KNOW what is best for calves-NOT you AR hippocrits.

  6. LCampbell says:

    Wise up, ARA’s are nothing short of little Hitler’s trying to force there “Vegan” way of life on everyone. There is a holocaust occurring right now, it’s the ARA slowing wiping out American Freedom and the Farmer.

    All the general public has to do is look at the big picture over the graphic worse case images the ARA’s throw all over the TV. Signature gatherers for Ohioans for Humane Farms (who never say who they are) backed by HSUS paid out of state signature gatherers. In an effort to gain momentum, MFA released “undercover” video at the dairy farm. They claim, by their own rep Daniel Hauff, to have contacted “local authorities” who did nothing.

    Farmers all know that Dept of Ag should have been the correct authority to contact, they didn’t because they had nothing till they staged the video. MFA has a track record of breaking the law, just like the rest of the ARA’s. MFA’s own website documents how they have committed Criminal Trespassing, Burglary and other acts they even go as high as to be prosecuted under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. That would be the one that the ARA’s fear the most because it puts them in their place.

    Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act states that they can protest as allowed by the First Amendment but loss of profit is considered a Terrorist Act. Well, i’m sure Buckeye Veal and Conklin both lost profits, according to MFA’s website, Costco dropped Buckeye Veal as a supplier. I’d file charges if I was the owner of Buckeye Veal under Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

    MFA never even consulted the Board prior to releasing the video, their own rep stated that in the press conference. I applaud the Board for standing up to the demands of these people. The board will do it’s job and set the standard, one not forced at the hands of the ARA’s.

  7. Jay P. says:

    The American Dietetic Association states clearly that vegan diets are fine and just like all other diets, they need to be well balanced. You can’t eat meat all day just like you can’t eat bread all day and expect that you’ll be healthy. It’s about eating healthy.

    MFA was a critical part of the ballot initiative in Ohio called Ohioans for Humane Farms (OHF). I’m sure that the Livestock Board is aware of who the major players are and who is contacting them, regardless of the media spin they give the public trying to state otherwise. I’d hope that the Board would be paying attention to OHF and actually know about the group, given they collected more than 500,000 signatures all across the state in support of banning veal crates (and Mercy For Animals was a major part of that initiative). The Board must know that MFA is part of the coalition and if they don’t, I think we put the wrong folks on the Board.

    The Board hasn’t “stood up to” anyone either. They are considering all of the science, they say, and the science is clear. Tethering calves, for the above given example of veal, is harmful for the calves’ welfare and keeps them from doing practically everything natural to them, including cleaning themselves, turning around and lying somewhere other than in their own waste. Anyone who argues that laying in manure and getting absolutely no exercise is healthy is not being honest with themselves. They suffer. Anyone who has taken a plane ride and been unable to get up can attest to how frustrating and awful it would be to spend their entire lives in a veal crate.

    The AETA doesn’t even remotely apply to Conklin. If that group had done anything wrong, they would have been charged. Yet, they weren’t in a heavy farming-influenced community. Additionally, the above assertions on the Act are way off base. That’s not what the act states, nor is it the Act’s intent. I’d recommend speaking with an attorney so that you can understand this law better.

    And why is this person (FedUp) still posting on this website? “These pathetic vegan hippocrits are OK killing and maiming plants-but then have the audacity to call us non-vegans ‘cruel’. I truely feel that the lack of animal products is affecting their brains-they are becoming wackier and pyschotic.”

    Uhh…yeah. Seriously, FedUp. Yikes.

    The Livestock Board was put into place by out of state signature gatherers, backed by (paid for by) out of state national farming interests. Please do your research before raising your concerns about signature gatherers collecting signatures of free-willed Ohioans, regardless of the signature gatherers, who as Ohioans state that they supported prohibiting the worst abuses on factory farms in Ohio. No one forced those Ohioans to agree and I really think that more and more people, as they are exposed to the practices of confining animals so tightly that they can’t turn around for their entire lives, will support similar legislation.

    In the end, here’s the thing: If you believe that people should be allowed to make their own decisions, why is there so much effort here to criticize and defame organizations who are working within their rights under the law to expose the practices and abuses they have documented. If you don’t want them pushing their beliefs on you, why are you on this site constantly posting your beliefs? There’s no difference. Your statements read just like the industries that are defending some of the worst practices out there. When people defend veal crates, I can’t for a second believe that they care one bit about the animals. When people defend battery cages that make birds look like this (heck, let’s use the footage taken by the org you are attacking – http://mercyforanimals.org/maine-eggs/), I’m ashamed at the things humans will do for money or power.

    And for someone to say that calves don’t run and play and enjoy life out in the fields when given that opportunity is completely dishonest. Perhaps this veal farmer needs to visit some sanctuaries and see calves who are able to move around enjoying life. I’ve spent time with calves and they are like big puppy dogs – when they aren’t denied that opportunity. Reading these posts this morning made me very sad for our society and for the farmed animals caught in the middle.

  8. Carhartt Cowboy says:

    Well Jay, maybe you should do the research. The Board was elected the voting public of Ohio, not by out of state signatures.

    MFA threatened the board with the 500,000 signatures that they don’t even have possession of, they so stated in their own press conference.

    AETA does cover exactly what MFA has done, Conklin had profit loss after the video release, that is the first thing addressed in AETA.

    The reason they have not been prosecuted is because Conklin has not made an official complaint about it.

    The paid signature gatherers, as reported by the Tuscawaras Newspaper, where thrown out of the fair grounds when they were busted for lying to the members of the farm bureau stating that the OFB supported the ballot measure.

    People should be allowed to make their own decisions based on facts, not edited video footage or have some Sadam Hussain like agenda pushed down their throat.

  9. okiestorm1 says:

    I don’t thank a calf needs to be tied up but seperated is for thier own good, health wise.Ive raised bottle calves i know what iam talking about.They can and need to be let out to play with each other for a time if they are watched, but need to be seperated after play time is over. A dog or cat in a kennel or pound is in a cage for hours a day.Each calf has his or her own health needs and in order to receive what they need seperation is a plus.

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