Veal farmers are ahead of schedule as they work to meet the American Veal Association (AVA) commitment to transition all veal farms to group housing by 2017. An April survey found that 34.8 percent of the veal calves currently going to market are raised in group-housing facilities.
“Veal farmers’ primary concern is the well-being of the animals in their care. They also strive to meet their customers’ needs and concerns,” says Drew Vermeire, a calf nutritionist and chairman of the industry committee which oversees U.S. veal care and quality farming standards. Veal farmers are embracing research proven, science-based animal husbandry guidelines on how to provide high quality individual care to calves raised in group pen facilities, he adds.
“Veal farmers are much further ahead than we anticipated at this point,” says Vermeire. “Initially, we expected to have 20 percent of all veal calves raised in group housing by mid-2009. Some farmers adopted group housing early and moved to this system entirely while others are phasing in as they experience good results.  The goal is to always ensure excellent individual care to calves raised in groups while producing wholesome and tender quality meat that veal consumers expect and enjoy.”
In May 2007, the AVA’s board of directors voted unanimously to adopt a resolution calling for all U.S. veal farms to transition to group-housing systems by Dec. 31, 2017. The board also encouraged more research to aid farmers in the transition.
Source: American Veal Association