Yes, you can eat dairy cows. Once a dairy cow is no longer able to produce milk or is no longer productive enough to justify costs, it is sent to slaughter. Because dairy cow meat is of a lower quality compared to beef cows, it is sold for less money and is commonly found in cheaper products like processed meat products.
Can You Eat Male Dairy Cows?
As male dairy cows are unable to produce milk, and since dairy cattle are not bred for beef, most male dairy cows live for a short period of time. This can be anywhere between the ages of 18 weeks to 1 year old before being slaughtered and sold for beef production.
While veal can be produced from a calf of either sex and any breed, most come from young male calves who are slaughtered very early on in their lives. Generally, veal fetches a higher price than beef from older cattle.
What Does Dairy Cow Meat Taste Like?
If you’ve ever eaten cheap meat cuts, a hamburger, or any other processed beef product, you have already eaten dairy cow and know what it tastes like. Generally, you’ll find that dairy cow meat is lean and tough, which makes it unsuitable for steaks.
Due to its lower quality, dairy cow meat is cheaper and used in less expensive beef products The exception is veal, which most often comes from young males calves, and is sold and consumed for higher prices. Veal is more tender than beef and has a more delicate, neutral flavor.
How Should Dairy Cow Meat Be Cooked?
First, you want to be able to choose the piece of beef that you will cook. You can select the best piece by taking a look at the marbling. The fat should have a slightly yellowish color, as this indicates old age and a dairy cow that has mainly been pasture-fed. It’s also wise to choose the thickest piece you can.
Once you have selected the piece of meat, either cook it on high heat on the BBQ or in a pan to brown, then place the meat in the oven at a medium-low temperature until medium-rare.
How Old Are Dairy Cows When Sent to Slaughter?
The age a dairy cow lives to until sent to slaughter is most strongly correlated to their milk production levels. Generally, high production cows do not live as long as lower production cows, but they are more profitable.
On average, dairy cows live until they are about six years old before they are sent to slaughter. Dairy cows can also be sent to slaughter at a younger age if infertility, mastitis, or lameness become an issue.
What Percentage of Beef Comes from Dairy Cows?
Approximately 20% of beef consumed in the USA comes from dairy cows of which 94% are Holsteins.