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The End of Veal Calves from Dairy Cows?
This past week (Nay 4, 2009), a male calf
escaped from a slaughterhouse and ran free
through New York City streets before it was
captured and sent to a farm sanctuary. In
the very near future, male calves will never
again be born.
There are four ways for a dairy cow to get pregnant:
1) Artificial Insemination
2) Embryo Transfer
3) The good olde fashioned way
4) Immaculate conception (Holy Cow!)
In 2009, most dairy cows will be artificially inseminated
with semen extracted from "champion" bulls.
There was a time last century when a farmer did not know
whether his cow's offspring would be male or female. With
9.2 million dairy cows giving birth each year, the odds
were that 4.6 million would be female (and be raised as
dairy cows) and the other 4.6 million would be male, and
would be raised as veal calves.
A relatively new technology separates bull semen so that
farmers can opt for a female birth 93 percent of the time.
Sexed semen companies have developed semen for 18 different
breeds of cattle.
In the real world, 4.6 million calves would be born female
and 4.6 million calves would be male. In the 21st century
world of sexed semen, 8,556,000 will be born female,
and less than 65,000 will be born male.
For many farmers, it is not even worth their while to
transport a male calf to the auction house. The costs
are greater than the reward. The new trend is for those
cows born male to be killed and buried on the farm
or sold to a renderer, depending up the size and
volume of a particular dairy operation.