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Veal code of practice gets update

An updated code of practice for veal calves was released today by the Canadian Veal Association and the National Farm Animal Care Council.

First developed in 1998, it is the 11th code to be updated through the council’s consensus-based approach to code development. It was prepared by a 17-person committee that included veal producers, researchers, veterinarians, government and animal welfare.

That committee used information from a six-person scientific committee on veal cattle behaviour, health and welfare.

The updated code includes chapters on calf selection and care of newly arrived calves, housing, feed and water, husbandry, health management, transport and euthanasia. All chapters contain required and recommended practices when caring for and handling veal calves.

Veal calves are mostly male dairy calves raised for white or pink veal. The code further defines these animals as “dairy feeder calves (being raised for the dairy-beef market) during the starting period and cattle being raised for milk- and grain-fed veal, including on farms that specialize in pre- conditioned calves.

“Dairy feeder calves fall under the veal cattle code of practice until they are moved from young animal housing and management systems (that more closely resemble veal production rather than cow-calf operations covered in the beef cattle code) into housing and management systems intended for growing and finishing.”

In a news release, CVA president and veal producer Bob Wynands said it shows producers’ commitment to animal health and welfare and use of responsible animal husbandry.

Dr. Jeffrey Rushen, who represented Canadian humane societies on the code committee, said the document has updated standards and will “evolve” welfare practices in the veal industry to better meet animals’ needs.

Copies of the code are available here. (PDF format)

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