Veal is a high quality, nutritious and flavourful red meat. It’s a lot like beef in many ways – both types of meat come from cattle and the animals are raised in similar ways on family farms in Ontario. The big difference lies in the breed of the cattle.

The male offspring of dairy cows are called bulls. Male calves can’t produce milk so they are raised for meat instead, just like beef cattle. It’s part of how farmers contribute to the circular economy concept in food production: everything that is produced has a purpose and nothing is wasted.

Ontario and Quebec are the largest Canadian producers of veal because they also have the greatest number of dairy farms. Holsteins are the most common breed of veal cattle. They grow quickly, are well-muscled, and very lean.

Grain-fed veal cattle are raised on a mainly milk-based diet until they’re six to eight weeks old, before transitioning to a balanced ration based on grain and pellets made of protein, vitamins, and minerals, and a small amount of fibre. They reach market weight around 340 kg (750 lbs.).

Milk-fed veal cattle are raised mainly on a milk-based diet, with some grain and fibre included in the ration. They’re ready for market once they weigh approximately 250 kg (550 lbs.).

Although their diet is different, both milk-fed and grain-fed veal cattle receive the same quality of care and attention to their health and welfare.

Veal cattle are raised in groups with other veal cattle of a similar size and age. They are housed in well-ventilated barns, and are bedded with straw or wood shavings so they stay clean, dry, and comfortable. Research is ongoing into many aspects of veal production, especially health and welfare of the animals.

VFO is delighted to partner with Farm and Food Care Ontario to open the doors to an Ontario veal farm for a 360° virtual tour that explains how veal cattle are fed and cared for. Veal farmers are proud of what we do! Visit a grain-fed veal farm here.

  • Veal cattle welfare and the humane treatment of animals Dealers

    Veal cattle health and welfare is a top priority for veal farmers, and they take that responsibility seriously. Canada’s national Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Veal Cattle (the Code) is the standard of responsible care for veal cattle in Canada, based on the latest research and understanding of veal cattle behaviour and welfare. The Code spells out what farmers need to do to ensure veal cattle are healthy, safe, and well-cared for, able to express normal behaviour, and experience freedom from hunger, thirst, discomfort, pain, injury, disease, fear, and distress. More information is available at bit.ly/vealcode.

    Farmers work closely with veterinarians to make sure veal cattle are healthy and productive. Veterinarians are very knowledgeable about production practices, health, and welfare and can advise farmers about the best treatment and care their animals need.

    There are also very specific rules that farmers must follow when it comes to handling and transporting veal cattle. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) oversees these regulations, which cover everything from weather and maximum travel times to adequate space, access to food and water, and how to deal with animals that are considered compromised or unfit for transport.

  • More about life on the farm Dealers

    Once they are old enough, male calves leave the dairy farm. Why, you might ask? Dairy farms specialize in milk production, not raising animals for meat, so male calves are moved to veal farms that focus on raising animals for meat. Veal farmers buy animals from many different dairy farms, so they take special steps to protect them from getting sick when they first come onto the farm, like vaccinating them against different diseases.

    Although many veal cattle are placed into group pens right away, some live in individual covered outdoor pens called hutches or in individual pens inside the barn for the first few weeks of their lives. This is to keep them from being exposed to any illnesses that other cattle might have and give their immune systems a chance to develop. They are fed milk replacer, which is milk powder mixed with water and contains a balanced diet of protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. They are also given water and calf starter, which is a solid feed fed to calves to help them transition away from milk and support their healthy gut development.

    Once veal cattle leave their individual pens, they are moved into barns where they live in group pens bedded with straw or wood shavings together with other veal cattle of the same size and age. This is to make sure they all have equal access to feed and water, as well as given them opportunities to socialize or interact with other cattle. They eat a high energy diet of mainly grains like corn, feed pellets that are made of protein, vitamins and minerals, and a small amount of daily fibre. Professional livestock nutritionists work with farmers make sure their veal cattle are fed a healthy, balanced diet.

  • Veal cattle welfare and the humane treatment of animals Dealers

    Veal cattle health and welfare is a top priority for veal farmers, and they take that responsibility seriously. Canada’s national Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Veal Cattle (the Code) is the standard of responsible care for veal cattle in Canada, based on the latest research and understanding of veal cattle behaviour and welfare. The Code spells out what farmers need to do to ensure veal cattle are healthy, safe, and well-cared for, able to express normal behaviour, and experience freedom from hunger, thirst, discomfort, pain, injury, disease, fear, and distress. More information is available at bit.ly/vealcode.

    Farmers work closely with veterinarians to make sure veal cattle are healthy and productive. Veterinarians are very knowledgeable about production practices, health, and welfare and can advise farmers about the best treatment and care their animals need.

    There are also very specific rules that farmers must follow when it comes to handling and transporting veal cattle. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) oversees these regulations, which cover everything from weather and maximum travel times to adequate space, access to food and water, and how to deal with animals that are considered compromised or unfit for transport.

  • More about life on the farm Dealers

    Once they are old enough, male calves leave the dairy farm. Why, you might ask? Dairy farms specialize in milk production, not raising animals for meat, so male calves are moved to veal farms that focus on raising animals for meat. Veal farmers buy animals from many different dairy farms, so they take special steps to protect them from getting sick when they first come onto the farm, like vaccinating them against different diseases.

    Although many veal cattle are placed into group pens right away, some live in individual covered outdoor pens called hutches or in individual pens inside the barn for the first few weeks of their lives. This is to keep them from being exposed to any illnesses that other cattle might have and give their immune systems a chance to develop. They are fed milk replacer, which is milk powder mixed with water and contains a balanced diet of protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. They are also given water and calf starter, which is a solid feed fed to calves to help them transition away from milk and support their healthy gut development.

    Once veal cattle leave their individual pens, they are moved into barns where they live in group pens bedded with straw or wood shavings together with other veal cattle of the same size and age. This is to make sure they all have equal access to feed and water, as well as given them opportunities to socialize or interact with other cattle. They eat a high energy diet of mainly grains like corn, feed pellets that are made of protein, vitamins and minerals, and a small amount of daily fibre. Professional livestock nutritionists work with farmers make sure their veal cattle are fed a healthy, balanced diet.

  • Veal cattle welfare and the humane treatment of animals Dealers

    Veal cattle health and welfare is a top priority for veal farmers, and they take that responsibility seriously. Canada’s national Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Veal Cattle (the Code) is the standard of responsible care for veal cattle in Canada, based on the latest research and understanding of veal cattle behaviour and welfare. The Code spells out what farmers need to do to ensure veal cattle are healthy, safe, and well-cared for, able to express normal behaviour, and experience freedom from hunger, thirst, discomfort, pain, injury, disease, fear, and distress. More information is available at bit.ly/vealcode.

    Farmers work closely with veterinarians to make sure veal cattle are healthy and productive. Veterinarians are very knowledgeable about production practices, health, and welfare and can advise farmers about the best treatment and care their animals need.

    There are also very specific rules that farmers must follow when it comes to handling and transporting veal cattle. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) oversees these regulations, which cover everything from weather and maximum travel times to adequate space, access to food and water, and how to deal with animals that are considered compromised or unfit for transport.

  • More about life on the farm Dealers

    Once they are old enough, male calves leave the dairy farm. Why, you might ask? Dairy farms specialize in milk production, not raising animals for meat, so male calves are moved to veal farms that focus on raising animals for meat. Veal farmers buy animals from many different dairy farms, so they take special steps to protect them from getting sick when they first come onto the farm, like vaccinating them against different diseases.

    Although many veal cattle are placed into group pens right away, some live in individual covered outdoor pens called hutches or in individual pens inside the barn for the first few weeks of their lives. This is to keep them from being exposed to any illnesses that other cattle might have and give their immune systems a chance to develop. They are fed milk replacer, which is milk powder mixed with water and contains a balanced diet of protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. They are also given water and calf starter, which is a solid feed fed to calves to help them transition away from milk and support their healthy gut development.

    Once veal cattle leave their individual pens, they are moved into barns where they live in group pens bedded with straw or wood shavings together with other veal cattle of the same size and age. This is to make sure they all have equal access to feed and water, as well as given them opportunities to socialize or interact with other cattle. They eat a high energy diet of mainly grains like corn, feed pellets that are made of protein, vitamins and minerals, and a small amount of daily fibre. Professional livestock nutritionists work with farmers make sure their veal cattle are fed a healthy, balanced diet.

Click here to download this informational pdf
Click here to download this informative pdf
Visit a grain-fed veal farm here