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Compassion & Channel 4 make higher welfare meatballs

News Section Icon Published 28/05/2012

Compassion in World Farming has been helping celebrity farmer, Jimmy Doherty with his new Channel 4 programme, Jimmy and The Giant Supermarket.

Jimmy Doherty has a dream to make free range food affordable for everyone. So he challenged Britain's biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, to let him prove he can do it, and they agreed - hurrah!

Jimmy is taking on three of Tesco's best-selling own brand products: chicken kievs, meatballs and 'standard' sausages, and will work with Tesco to try and make higher-welfare versions for the same affordable price.

Compassion has been advising Jimmy and his team since the planning stages of this project - talking to them about the welfare issues of farmed animals, providing footage of farming systems and helping them ensure their facts and figures are correct.

In the first episode, being aired Tuesday 29 May, Jimmy tries to transform Tesco's best-selling own brand meatballs. In doing so, Jimmy spots an opportunity to tackle a huge problem in the dairy industry - the killing of thousands of unwanted male calves each year. Jimmy agrees with Compassion that these calves should be reared in the UK to produce higher welfare meat.

Where veal comes from

Dairy cows give birth once a year in order to produce milk. Female calves join the dairy herd, but male dairy calves cannot produce milk. Some are reared for beef, but not all dairy males are considered to be well suited for beef production. Every year, nearly half a million male calves are born in the UK, of which over 10,000 are transported long distances to continental veal farms and up to 100,000 are shot at birth.

Higher welfare veal

Calves reared to UK standards are provided with bedding and younger calves receive double the amount of fibrous food compared to minimum requirements for continental veal calves. Older UK calves also have greater space allowance than stipulated in EU law.

Compassion believes all animals are born with a moral and economic value, and wants to see UK calves reared in high welfare systems, not shot at birth or transported to Europe at a very young age. We ask those who eat veal to only choose British and other higher welfare alternatives.

Check back here later in the week for information on the second episode of Jimmy and The Giant Supermarket, when Jimmy will be exploring pig farming and creating higher welfare sausages.

Watch Jimmy and The Giant Supermarket, Episode 1:


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