What Kind of Animal Is Veal?

Veal is the meat of male calves that are generally slaughtered between the ages of 18 to 20 weeks. They are usually born to dairy cows, who must give birth at least once a year to continue producing milk.

Shortly after their births, veal calves are usually sold to veal farmers who raise the calves until they weigh approximately 475 to 500 pounds. Four veal classifications exist. The first, "bob veal," is meat from a calf who is less than three weeks of age. The remaining three categories are slaughtered at the customary 18-to-20 week mark. "Milk fed" veal calves drink milk replacer laced with antibiotics, "red" calves eat grain and hay in addition to drinking milk replacer, and "free raised" veal calves drink their mother's milk and eat fresh grass.