I will never forget walking into a veal barn for the first time. Dozens of newborn black and white calves stood in small iron stalls. Their heads chained to the front. The calves had enough slack to back up about a foot or lie down with their head out in front of them. They could not curl their heads back into their body. Nor could they sleep with their legs outstretched due to the cramped quarters.
Beside the scarcity of space, the other shock was the poor physical condition of these calves. Their eyes and mouths were a sickly gray color instead of healthy pink. The veterinarian I accompanied explained that veal calves are fed a special diet deficient in iron in order to produce pale, tender veal. As a result, these calves were anemic and prone to infection. I left the barn feeling sick to my stomach. Despite the fact that I do eat beef, I vowed never to eat veal again.
Proposition 2 establishes standards for the humane confinement of egg-laying hens, veal calves and pregnant sows. The proposition states these animals must have enough room to lie down, stand, turn around and fully extend their limbs. It is supported by the California Veterinary Medical Association as well as the San Diego County Veterinary Medical Association. I am ashamed to report that the American Veterinary Medical Association, of which I am a member, refused to take a position on this vital proposition.
If you are a California resident, I encourage you to please vote yes on Proposition 2. Give farm animals enough room to sleep in whatever position they find comfortable.