Veal meat is sought after all over the world for its delicate flavour and melt in the mouth tenderness. But just how are they raised?
Veal Farming in Australia
Veal can be produced from a calf of either sex, but mostly comes from male calves as they do not lactate.
Newborn veal calves are generally given only a limited amount of time with their mothers, which can be anywhere between a few hours and a few days.
Free-raised calves are sometimes raised alongside their mothers, and always have access to their mothers' milk.
In Australia, veal is the meat produced from dairy calves weighing less than 70kg or beef calves (vealers/weaners) weighing up to 150kg.
Calves from the dairy industry may be a pure dairy breed (such as a Holstein) or a dairy cross beef breed (such as Holstein/Angus).
The calves usually grow up on specialist calf-rearing properties unless the dairy farmer has facilities for rearing calves.
Calves are generally reared in groups in sheds (some with access to pasture) and fed milk or milk replacer and then a grain-based ration. This specialist calf-rearing method results in rose (pink) veal.
Types of Veal
Milk-fed Veal refers to calves that are raised on a diet consisting of Milk or a replacement, which has been formulated with mostly milk-based proteins and enriched with added vitamins and minerals. This is most commonplace when it comes to nutrition of calves.
Grain-fed refers to calves that are raised on a milk-based diet at birth until six to eight weeks, and then moved to a corn-based diet.
Free-raised veal are raised on the open pastures, where they are provided with an adequate diet of grass, milk and fresh water.