Supermarkets Back Campaign to Stop Buying Foreign Veal

UK - Supermarkets are backing a campaign to promote home-reared veal and young beef and end the controversial live export trade involving tens of thousands of bull calves from the milk production industry, reports Guardian Unlimited.
calendar icon 21 January 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Tesco has announced that it would phase out the sale of imported veal. Farmers, which supply the company with milk, have agreed not to export their calves, meaning the animals could be raised and slaughtered at home. Marks & Spencer now stocks rosé veal instead of the white veal that is produced by more intensive farming methods, Waitrose is encouraging dairy farmers to keep calves for domestic production and Asda is backing the development of "single-sex semen" so dairy cattle only produce female progeny.

Supermarkets back drive to change minds on rearing veal

Bull calves, born in a system designed to keep their mothers in milk, have often been seen as of little economic value because of Britons' antipathy to veal.

An industry-wide voluntary agreement to change the attitudes of farmers and consumers' attitudes, including farming organisations, other companies such as Sainsbury's and McDonald's, and the government, will be unveiled tomorrow.

The campaign aims to end a situation in which as many as a third of almost 500,000 newborn bull dairy calves are killed each year and a fifth are exported for rearing on the continent. Fewer than 2,000 are thought to be kept for the veal market in this country, although about 300,000 may be sold on to beef farmers to mature.

Even a huge growth in home-grown veal to compensate for imports would not put a large dent in the 100,000 calves a year thought to have been exported in the first year after the post-BSE export ban was lifted in 2006. At most it might only account for 20,000 young animals. So in addition to an expansion in rosé veal from older calves, new markets are being sought for more mature beef, nearly a third of which is imported at present.

For the full story Guardian Unlimited

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