There are three types of veal: "Bob" veal (calves slaughtered when only a few days old), formula-fed veal, and nonformula-fed veal or "red veal". Nonformula-fed veal calves are given grain, hay, or other solid food in addition to milk. Formula-fed (or "milk-fed") veal calves are raised in confinement on a solely liquid diet. The humane movement is most concerned with this group. The consumption of veal is an important part of the Italian and French diets, and the ancient part of these cultures. Due to the toughness of nonformula-fed veal, these groups are unlikely to see it as a substitute. Julia Child remarked in her The Way to Cook that nonformula-fed veal ought to be called calf.
Formula-fed veal calves are traditionally raised by restricting their physical movement in order to minimize the growth of tough muscle fiber and to keep their flesh white and tender. The finest veal meat comes from unweaned calves. Formula-fed veal farming is universally condemned by animal rights activists and other sympathizers and is used as an example of the cruelty of modern large scale animal farming, more commonly referred to as factory farming.
Veal bones are used to make veal stock, a base for many sauces and soups found in French cuisine, including demi-glace.