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Does the RSPCA have animal welfare standards for dairy veal?

Article ID: 699
Last updated: 25 May, 2017
Revision: 2
Views: 432

The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme aims to improve the welfare of as many farm animals as possible by providing an environment that better meets their behavioural needs. The Scheme has recently published animal welfare standards for dairy veal calves.

Key aspects of the Approved Farming Scheme standards for dairy veal calves include:

  • Staff that are trained and competent in their required tasks
  • Health management and monitoring procedures, including euthanasia
  • Calves must be fed good quality colostrum in their first day of life
  • Calves must be fed a diet that prevents mineral or vitamin deficiencies
  • Calves must be fed milk through a teat feeder to satisfy the behavioural need to suckle
  • Calves must be provided with bedding
  • Calves must be provided with environmental enrichment materials
  • Calves must have access to an outdoor area or paddock from weaning
  • Calves must be housed in groups with sufficient space each to enable expression of social and play behaviours
  • Calves must be handled calmly and quietly
  • Aversive practices such as tethering, disbudding, dehorning, castration, hot iron branding, and nose rings are not permitted
  • Calves must be at least 10 days old before they are allowed to be transported and young calves under 8 weeks old require bedding in the transport vehicle
  • Calves must have enough room on the transport vehicle to all be able to lie down
  • Calves must be humanely slaughtered

Good animal welfare relies on meeting an animal’s physiological needs (for example good health, good nutrition, comfortable housing), good stockpersonship (for example low-stress animal handling), providing for innate behavioural needs (for example, in veal calves, the ability to suckle, chew, ruminate, the company of other calves), and providing the opportunity to have positive experiences (for example through play and locomotor behaviours, through active engagement with their surroundings). Good welfare can be achieved where calves are provided with sufficient space to play in the company of other calves, sufficient quantity of milk to prevent hunger and competition at the feeder, teat feeders to satisfy the need to suckle, and roughage to promote chewing and rumination and express foraging behaviour, and bedding to allow for thermal comfort as well as nesting.


This website provides general information which must not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for specific professional advice, including veterinary advice. We make no warranties that the website is accurate or suitable for a person's unique circumstances and provide the website on the basis that all persons accessing the website responsibly assess the relevance and accuracy of its content.
Also read
document What happens to bobby calves?
document What do we mean by humane killing or slaughter?
document What is veal?
document Does the RSPCA have animal welfare standards for dairy production?
document Why is the RSPCA not a vegetarian organisation?
document How are animals killed for food?
document Why are calves separated from their mother in the dairy industry?
document Is group housing preferable to individual housing of dairy calves?
document How do young calves cope with transport?
document How much milk should dairy calves be fed?
document Why is colostrum feeding important for calves?

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Does the RSPCA have animal welfare standards for beef production?     Does the RSPCA have animal welfare standards for lamb production?