On Monday 8th October Marks & Spencer announced that it will stop selling imported white veal and calves' liver. From January 2008 M&S will only sell high-welfare UK rose veal. In the meantime, from 10 October, white veal will be removed from its stores. Calves liver is also being banned as it comes from animals reared for white veal.
Calves reared for rose veal in the UK are legally required to have bedding, more space and a better diet. Although Marks & Spencer was not sourcing from calves in veal crate systems (a method of production now banned across Europe on welfare grounds) they were still unhappy with the welfare of calves reared on the continent. Steven Esom, Director of Food at Marks and Spencer said "Moving to UK rosé veal has been welcomed by CIWF as leading the way in animal welfare."
Philip Lymbery, our Chief Executive welcomed the move, saying: "This is fantastic news. M&S has again raised the bar on animal welfare by committing to stock only higher-welfare UK-reared rosé veal. Furthermore all the bull calves used for their welfare-friendly veal will be supplied by one of their own dairy farmers. This is a great example of how retailers can work with their suppliers to find humane uses for bull calves."
M&S will source its rosé veal from a family run farm in Lothian, who are members of the M&S dairy pool.
Continental farmers are permitted by European law to rear calves in intensive units, often on fully slatted floors and without bedding. Many of the calves reared in these systems are imported from other countries in Europe, including the UK, and suffer long stressful journeys.
Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA are working with supermarkets, (including M&S), the government and the beef and dairy industries through the 'Beyond Calf Exports Stakeholders Forum' to find humane and ethical alternatives to calf exports.
For more information on calf exports and welfare see our campaign pages.