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Calves Kept in Darkness, Starved, and Left to Die at This Indiana Veal Farm

After exposing abuse at three separate dairy farms, Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) just released “the fourth and final installment of the largest dairy investigation ever executed within the United States.” This summer, an ARM investigator documented appalling treatment of calves at a facility owned by Strauss Veal Feeds, which purchases calves from about 200 dairy farms, demonstrating that veal is part of—not separate from—the dairy industry.

Between May and August, the investigator worked at Midwest Veal, a Strauss Veal Feeds facility in North Manchester, Indiana. Although hired as a “calf caregiver,” he also had to drag dead calves from their crates to the parking lot for disposal.


Every day, 10 to 20 calves died in the terrible conditions, many succumbing to dysentery, infections, or excessive heat, according to the investigator’s report. When the calves were close to death, managers would stop giving them food and water, an order indicated by the word “no” written on the animals’ stalls. ARM founder Richard Couto stated:
They’re starving these animals to death. Number one to save on money and number two so the calves will die sooner. Imagine being in a cage and not being fed.
While the veal industry tells consumers that calves are raised in “group housing,” this is not the whole picture. After being brought from dairy farms to this facility, calves were housed for the first eight weeks in individual crates and kept in pitch darkness for 18 hours a day. The investigator’s report states, “The lights were to be kept off for as long as possible to save the company money.” Calves were given medicine twice a day, often with the same needle used on multiple animals. In addition, workers administered medication requiring a veterinarian and some that is prohibited in calves used for veal. Couto said:
Imagine being a newborn baby being in a barn without any ventilation, being stabbed with needles various times a day, dying of illness and sickness without your mother, in the pitch blackness.
This is the fourth dairy-related investigation ARM has released this year. The three others revealed egregious abuse at dairy farms: Operation Fair Oaks Farms Dairy Adventure, Operation Fairlife, and Operation Natural Prairie Dairy. The organization decided to investigate Strauss Veal Feeds after a discovery at Fair Oaks Farms.


ARM investigators followed transport trucks from Fair Oaks Farms, and what they found was shocking. Despite many written statements from Fair Oaks that their male calves were not sent to veal farms, the trucks arrived at Midwest Veal. ARM states that the dairy industry is doing “nothing but deceiving the public.”

While many people choose to avoid veal, they often don’t understand that buying dairy directly supports the cruel veal industry.

With so many delicious plant-based milks and other products to choose from, there’s never been a better time to explore dairy-free foods. Learn more and get easy plant-based meal ideas and recipes with a FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide.
  • Calf
  • Chicken
  • Piglet

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