Is It Cruel To Eat Lamb And Veal? (According To Experts)

Lamb and veal are two popular meats that grace the plates of many meat-eaters. However, the process of getting these meats onto our plates is often overlooked.

The treatment of these animals before they become our food is a topic of much debate. Some argue that it is cruel to eat lamb and veal due to the inhumane living conditions and painful slaughtering methods used in the industry.

Others argue that there are ethical ways to source these meats. In this article, we will explore both sides of the argument and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about whether or not it is cruel to eat lamb and veal.

Is It Cruel To Eat Lamb And Veal?

Lamb and veal are both meats that come from young animals. Lambs are typically slaughtered at six months old, while veal calves are killed at around 14 weeks of age. The conditions in which these animals are raised and slaughtered have been a topic of controversy for many years.

Many people argue that the standard procedures used to slaughter these animals are painful and unethical. In most farms, lambs often endure inhumane living conditions and are killed at a young age. Similarly, veal calves are often kept almost immobile in a veal crate for their whole lives before being killed.

However, it is possible to eat ethically-sourced lamb and veal by buying straight from farmers that you know treat their animals well. Some small family-owned farms raise veal calves in humane conditions, without castration or the removal of horns and tails. Growth hormones are also illegal to use on them, and antibiotics are only used if an animal gets sick.

It is important to note that the treatment of these animals is not the only factor to consider when deciding whether or not it is cruel to eat lamb and veal. The impact of the meat industry on the environment and our health should also be taken into account.

The Process Of Raising Lamb And Veal

The process of raising lamb and veal involves several steps, from selecting the breed to providing the right living conditions and nutrition for the animals. When it comes to selecting the breed, the decision will depend on several factors such as when you want to lamb the ewes and the type of operation you have. For example, if you plan to fall lamb, only a few breeds such as the Dorset, Rambouillet, and Polypay will lamb during this season of the year. The Dorset-Rambouillet cross ewe has been the mainstay of the commercial fall lambing programs in Oklahoma due to its ability to breed out-of-season better than either straightbred.

Once you have selected your breed, it is crucial to provide your animals with nutritious pasture that is dense with a high percentage of legumes and a well-balanced pH level. The pasture needs to be harvested (grazed) at the right time of maturity, and rotational grazing is necessary. Continuous grazing can result in running out of desirable forage, which can lead to a decrease in weight gain for the sheep.

Water and minerals should be supplied at all times. In the summer, shade should be provided, and in the winter, shelter should be accessible. It is essential to ensure that all these conditions are met to prevent any discomfort or harm to the animals.

When it comes to veal calves, it is crucial to provide them with enough space for movement and socialization. Veal crates that restrict movement are now illegal in many countries due to their inhumane nature. Calves should be allowed access to their mother’s milk or a suitable milk replacer, and they should be weaned gradually.

Inhumane Living Conditions

Lambs and veal calves are often subjected to inhumane living conditions before being slaughtered for meat. In factory farms, lambs are raised in filthy and cramped conditions with little access to fresh air or sunlight. They are often kept in small pens or crowded together in large groups, which can lead to the spread of diseases and infections.

Veal calves, on the other hand, are confined to small crates that restrict their movement and prevent them from developing muscle mass. These crates are designed to keep the calves from moving around too much, which is believed to produce more tender meat. However, this practice is widely considered to be cruel and inhumane.

Both lambs and veal calves may also be subjected to painful procedures such as castration, tail docking, and dehorning without anesthetics. These procedures can cause chronic pain, infection, and other health issues for the animals.

In addition to the physical suffering endured by these animals, they are also often separated from their mothers at a young age. Mother sheep and cows are deeply caring and form strong bonds with their babies. However, in factory farms, lambs and veal calves are taken away from their mothers shortly after birth so that they can be raised for meat.

Painful Slaughtering Methods

The methods used to slaughter lambs and veal calves can be painful and unethical. In many cases, these animals are killed without the use of anesthetics, which can cause them to experience significant pain and distress. Additionally, the conditions in which they are kept before being slaughtered can also be inhumane.

Religious slaughter without stunning is permitted in many countries and organizations, but it remains extremely controversial from an animal welfare perspective. The stress of restraint, feeling of pain during slaughtering, and excessive distress during bleeding can all cause unnecessary suffering for the animals.

While stunning of livestock has been mandatory in the EU since 1979, member states can grant exemptions for religious slaughter. Some countries, like Denmark, have opted to ban non-stunning slaughter altogether. However, the UK government has no intention of banning religious slaughter.

It is important to consider the pain and suffering that these animals may endure before they end up on our plates. While it may be difficult to avoid consuming meat altogether, we can make more informed decisions about where our meat comes from and how it was produced. By supporting ethical farming practices and advocating for more humane slaughtering methods, we can help reduce the suffering of these animals.

Ethical Sourcing Of Lamb And Veal

When it comes to ethical sourcing of lamb and veal, it is important to look for farms and suppliers that prioritize animal welfare and sustainability. One such supplier is Pilgrim’s UK, which provides the only fully dedicated lamb supply chain in the U.K. They partner with a network of 400 dedicated sheep farmers who raise lambs according to higher-than-industry standards. All Pilgrim’s UK lamb producers are Farm Assured and their standards are independently audited by Farm Assurance Assessors. Their lamb producer partners also complete a Responsible Efficient Production Assessment biannually, evaluating the farm’s production, health, welfare, and environmental standards.

Similarly, RSPCA Freedom Foods-labelled veal ensures that calves are raised to exceed exacting standards. All veal produced in Britain must adhere to high welfare standards, where calves are given deep straw bedding and provided with a diet with plenty of roughage that allows them to develop unhindered. The blood of calves is also tested before slaughter to ensure that they have had enough iron in their diet. It is important to note that these high standards are not always the norm in the industry, so it is crucial to do your research and seek out suppliers who prioritize animal welfare.

In addition to looking for ethical sourcing practices, it is also important to consider the environmental impact of the meat industry. Newport Meat Company is an example of a supplier committed to sustainability. They source natural and sustainable meats from farmers who operate in an environmentally sensitive manner and raise their livestock with care and respect. They have also implemented initiatives to lower their own impact on the environment, such as recycling programs and using biodegradable cleaners in their processing rooms.

Alternatives To Eating Lamb And Veal

If you are looking for alternatives to eating lamb and veal, there are many options available. One option is to try plant-based proteins, such as beans and legumes. These are great sources of protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. You can use a variety of beans to create hearty vegetarian chili or puree them into a smooth hummus for a protein-packed snack.

Another option is to try different types of meat that are more sustainable and ethical. Grass-fed beef and lamb are considered to be some of the healthiest red meats available, as they contain healthy levels of vitamins, minerals, protein, omega-3 fats, and CLA. You can also try game meats like venison or bison, which are leaner and often raised in more natural environments.

If you still want to enjoy the taste of lamb or veal, but want to avoid the ethical concerns associated with these meats, you can try plant-based alternatives like seitan or jackfruit. These ingredients can be used to create dishes that mimic the taste and texture of meat without harming animals.

Ultimately, the decision to eat lamb and veal or not is a personal one that should take into account ethical, environmental, and health considerations. By exploring alternative options and making informed choices, we can all work towards a more sustainable and ethical food system.

Conclusion: Is It Cruel To Eat Lamb And Veal?