Debra Teachout, DVM, MVSc
Dr. Teachout is a practicing veterinarian who graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. She also holds an advanced degree in veterinary clinical pathology from Western College of Veterinary Medicine and completed additional coursework in farmed animal welfare. Dr. Teachout states:
Many calves show manure stuck to their hindquarters and hind legs. They are not kept clean by farm workers nor are they able to keep themselves clean due to the severe restrictions of their movement. Flies and insects appear to be a problem secondary to the manure buildup as calves are swatting them with their tails and stomping their feet in an effort to rid themselves of the irritation.
In this veal facility the calves are neither physically fit nor do they enjoy or display a sense of well-being. There is serious frustration and discomfort evident everywhere. Their environment should permit normal behavior, but instead it restricts, aggravates, and induces unending distress and suffering.
Dr. Ball is a licensed veterinarian with 19 years of experience working with animals. As part of Dr. Ball's training he has studied farmed animals and zoonotic disease. Dr. Ball's veterinary practice involves evaluating animals for pain and stress in various situations. Dr. Ball states:
In my opinion chaining a normally social animal so that it cannot even turn around and to expect it to live its life that way is just cruel. From the videos, behaviors shown such as constantly pulling at the chains, pacing in place and kicking are all signs of discomfort and stress.
Dr. Balcombe is an ethologist with Bachelors and Masters degrees in biology and a Doctorate in animal behavior received from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Balcombe is the author of four books on animal behavior, as well as more than 40 book chapters and peer-reviewed journal papers. Dr. Balcombe states:
To fully appreciate the welfare implications of the conditions shown here requires considering the broader scope of the animals’ predicament. Presumably, these calves do not leave their stalls and they never go outside. If so, then they are deprived of the sensory elements that natural outdoor surroundings would provide them, including smells, tastes, sounds, tree trunks and other objects to rub up against, and weather conditions like sunlight, rain, and breezes. They are deprived of the opportunity to run, explore, and play with others, and otherwise to have physical contact with others of their kind – all behaviors they are strongly motivated to perform. Naturally curious, they are deprived of almost any opportunity to explore, to learn, and to try new things.
It is hard to imagine that these animals experience much, if any, joy in their existence. It takes almost no imagination to appreciate that they experience considerable amounts of discomfort, frustration, and boredom, and that they are afraid of humans.
Dr. Schrader is a practicing veterinarian in the Dayton, Ohio area who obtained her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1980 from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Schrader has over 35 years of experience working with animals, particularly animals with serious, difficult to diagnose disorders.
I believe that the crating and tethering of the veal calves in this video is causing unnecessary stress and pain to the calves, and is an unacceptable method of calf housing. Neither is it in compliance with the recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Bekoff is professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and an expert in animal behavior, cognitive ethology and behavioral ecology. He is regularly sought by major media and well-respected publications for his extensive knowledge of animal cognition.
Frankly, the treatment of these calves is disgusting, horrific, and reprehensible. There's nothing more for me to say.
In addition to condemnation by experts of the conditions for calves raised at Buckeye Veal Farm, over the years numerous other respected organizations and governmental bodies have also spoken out against the cruel conditions endured by calves kept chained in veal stalls:
After a comprehensive two-year study, the independent Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health chaired by former Kansas Governor John Carlin and including former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, concluded that veal crates should be phased out:
A report on the welfare of calves raised for veal, published by the European Commission, Scientific Veterinary Committee, Animal Welfare Section, states:
Testifying before the U.S. Congress regarding a bill that would have prohibited veal crate confinement, Texas A&M University animal scientist, Dr. Ted Friend, discussed a USDA-funded study on veal calf welfare:
The crated calves required approximately five times more medication than those in the less confining environments.
We also found that all of the symptoms of chronic stress were eliminated after the calves were removed from the crates....
To summarize, our studies found that maintaining calves in crates is physically detrimental to the calf, something that is common knowledge in the industry.
Dr. W. Ron DeHaven is the former executive vice president of the American Veterinary Medical Association – one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Dr. DeHaven obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Purdue University in 1975.