Higher welfare alternatives
Extensive outdoor or indoor production
In these systems, calves are reared in small groups in straw-bedded barns. They are provided with adequate space allowance per calf and may have access to the outdoors. They are fed a normal diet for growing calves, without restriction of iron intake and solid food.
In the best systems, such as many organic systems, the calves are able to suckle from an older cow retired from the dairy herd. These systems provide greater comfort, reduced risk of injury and better opportunities for natural behaviour, social interaction and exercise.
veal from suckler herds
In this system, calves are reared with their mothers in the suckler herd and may be weaned before slaughter. This system is capable of providing the highest level of welfare for calves reared for veal as they are neither separated from their mother nor transported to rearing farms.
Calves reared in suckler herds have the health and psychological benefits of suckling from their mother, a normal diet and increased opportunities for natural behaviour, social interaction and exercise.
RSPCA’s Freedom Food™
Calves reared to Freedom Food standards are group housed in deep straw-bedded barns. They have greater space allowance and their diet must prevent anaemia and any mineral or vitamin deficiency. They receive more iron than minimum UK legal requirements and unweaned calves must have unlimited access to grass or a minimum amount of fibrous feed.
Calves reared to UK standard are provided with bedding and younger calves receive double the amount of fibrous food compared to continental veal calves. Older UK calves have greater space allowance than stipulated in EU law. Their diet must provide a minimum amount of iron equal to the EU minimum.
Compassion’s Calf life – wanted not wasted campaign calls for a consumer boycott of low welfare veal from the continent, and for UK calves to be reared in the UK to UK standards. Compassion believes this is a better alternative than shooting calves at birth or exporting them to continental veal production.