Is milk fattening

background

Status: 10/9/2017 5:35 p.m. | archive
Even calves that would have been weaned in the wild are mainly fed milk, like these six and a half month old animals.

Veal should be tender and juicy and also as white as possible. Because only then is it considered a delicacy. In order to produce this meat, however, it is necessary to feed the calves in the fattening area predominantly with milk - until they are slaughtered. Up to 80 percent of the German fattening calves come to this so-called white fattening. These calves continue to receive milk almost exclusively even at an age when they are normally weaned from milk. And hardly any "roughage" made from grass, maize, hay, straw or legumes. It contains a lot of iron. But that is exactly what would turn the meat of the calves red, but that is not the intention.

Experts consider milk fattening to be inappropriate for the species

The white or milk fattening is legally allowed. But among many experts it is considered inappropriate. The Swiss veterinarian Corinne Bähler also sees it this way: "I am of the opinion that a diet that is appropriate for animals or calves must contain iron. Iron is a very important substance for optimizing the immune system. Then the calves can fight diseases themselves if possible and do not have to be treated with multiple drugs. "

The milk that is fed in the milk fattening is (mostly) not real cow milk, but a so-called milk replacer, which contains as little iron as possible. The main components: palm oil fat, protein and skimmed milk or whey powder, mixed with water. There are even companies that filter the iron out of the water, says Bähler.

Health consequences for the calves

How unnatural is the white mast? And how unhealthy? Veterinarian Corinne Bähler, herself a member of the Swiss Association of Calf Fatteners, regularly examines the stomachs of slaughtered calves. She uses it to check whether they are okay. Because: "There are certain indications, for example when you look at the stomachs to see whether they have lesions or ulcers. These are indications of stress factors. We can already see that fewer lesions can be found in the stomach if you keep your stomach gently."

In an examination commissioned by the 45-minute team, the Swiss veterinarian dissects 30 calf stomachs. Getting the organs for this in Germany is as good as impossible. The ulcers Bähler finds must have been torture for the animals. "It always burns when the stomach contents run over the ulcer," she explains. Such ulcers are caused by stress factors such as the early separation from the mother, but also by lack of space, boredom, and iron deficiency as well as too much milk fed.

Stomach ulcers common in fattening calves

The vet reports on examinations in Italy, according to which 90 percent of the calves there would have such ulcers. In Switzerland it is now only ten to 20 percent. But there seems to be a new trend there too. The rich Swiss are apparently willing to pay more for humane veal.

In Germany there are no studies on stomach ulcers in fattening calves. But a current study from Austria assumes that on average 80 percent of the calves in the EU white fattening have such ulcers and suffer from them. One of the recommendations of this study: a different type of feeding, namely with mineral and therefore iron-containing feed.

Calf stomachs are not examined in Germany

Hardly anyone in Germany knows what it looks like in the stomachs of dairy calves. According to the veterinary offices asked by 45 Min, the stomachs are cut open in slaughterhouses only in very rare cases. In the past few decades, nobody in this country has examined the stomachs of calves for ulcers. The university institutes with which the author Fabian Sabo spoke would have liked to have done so. But they lack the means. So nobody knows what it looks like in the stomachs of the German fattening calves,

This is also confirmed by the meat companies, who responded in writing a year after a corresponding inquiry that the animals were getting enough iron. The companies also claim that the entire milk feeder is within the legal framework.

Is consumer welfare above that of the calves?

If one follows the result of the Austrian study, it can be assumed that the calves in white fattening suffer - quite legally. However, consumer welfare and culinary preferences seem to play a bigger role. The following applies to meat consumption as a whole: Those who buy cheaply must take into account that the animals are kept as economically as possible; which is often not appropriate to the species. The consumer pays even less for a good deed: when he no longer buys white veal, but rather rose-colored veal. Meat from calves that have been fed appropriately.

The junk calves

Farmers are happy about the birth of female calves, because their milk should later secure their income. But what happens to the male calves that are virtually worthless? more

This topic in the program:

45 min | 03/26/2018 | 22:00 O'clock