Veal has to have the worst PR of any food, other than fois gras which i think you should also eat if its ethically farmed, the image of the white meat produced in France & Holland still sticks in the mind of many. However there is an alternative, British rose veal has really bounced into the public eye in the last few years supported by upper end supermarket to a limited degree. Lead by Marks and Spencer in 2008 who sell exclusively British rose veal only.
The reality for male calves is a grim one, they are in the main a byproduct of the dairy industry which just has no use for them, as such they are shot at birth. Close to 300,000 calves will meet this fate every year in the UK alone. Were these calves raised for rose veal they would live for 6 to 9 months in an open space on a milk and grain diet and have a very happy existence. They would have lived much longer than the chicken or pig at your kitchen table.
So tell me which is crueler and more irresponsible, to be shot at birth and disposed of or to be reared in a way the RSPCA now endorses as their preferred option compared to being bolted at birth. The truth is rose veal is delicious and it should be plentiful were people to open their eyes to this fantastic British product. It would also create a much needed income boost to the much maligned dairy farmer.
In Scotland we have seen farmers go one step further with the introduction of ruby veal, so called as the calves never leave their mothers side until the point of weaning at 8 months created a slightly darker coloured meat. Its said at this age there is more intra-muscular fat drawing flavour to the muscle than traditional dairy veal.
As you know by now I am a huge fan of our city's farmers markets and one producer who is a regular at both and is the only one selling veal frequently are the good people at Peelham Farm, they are also the leaders of the ruby veal revolution.
All in all veal is delicious and I hope you can see now why it's so important that we support out farmers and enjoy this fantastic product. It comes highly JD Recommended!