Canada to end cruel veal calf crates

OTTAWA, Nov. 27, 2017 /CNW/ – The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) is pleased to announce a significant step forward in the fight against intensive confinement, painful practices and malnourishment for Canada’s veal calves.

These animal welfare commitments have buy-in from industry and will be phased in as part of the new National Farm Animal Care Council’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Veal Cattle. CFHS is the only animal welfare group to sit on the code development committee that established these new requirements and recommendations.

“This code will improve the quality of life for calves raised for veal,” says Barbara Cartwright, CEO of CFHS. “The phase-out of veal calf crates will dramatically increase social contact and lessen distress for these herd animals, and the new rules on feeding will help to address anemia and malnourishment in the industry.”

The biggest strengths of this new code are:

HOUSING REQUIREMENTS:

For new or renovated structures: As of July 1, 2018, calves in newly built or renovated housing must be switched to group housing at as young an age as possible and no later than 8 weeks of age. Tethering is prohibited.
For existing structures: As of December 31, 2020, calves in existing structures must be switched to group housing at as young an age as possible and no later than 8 weeks of age. Tethering is prohibited.
Individual housing used in the first 8 weeks of life must allow calves to stand up, lie down in multiple positions, turn completely without assistance, groom, stand fully upright without touching the top of the enclosure and have physical or visual contact with other calves.
REQUIREMENTS FOR PAIN CONTROL AND PAINFUL PROCEDURES:

The tails of the calves must no longer be docked unless deemed medically necessary by a vet, and all tail docking must be performed by a vet.
Pain control must be used, during and after tail docking, castration, disbudding and dehorning procedures.
A requirement that castration, disbudding and dehorning be performed at as early an age as possible to minimize pain and complications.
MALNUTRITION AND HUNGER REQUIREMENTS:

Calves must have access to a quality and quantity of food to fulfill their nutritional needs, maintain health and vigor and prevent hunger.
Producers in milk-fed veal systems must create a vet-approved written protocol for anemia prevention that includes monitoring of hemoglobin levels.
Calves who are below a specific blood hemoglobin level must receive iron supplements.
Calves must be fed milk or milk replacer at least twice a day except during weaning.
Feed must be provided in a way that prevents competition for feed and potential injury due to competition for feed.
There are now requirements about when and how weaning is carried out. Weaning cannot be started until calves are at least 4 weeks of age and cannot be completed until they are at least 6 weeks of age. Weaning must be carried out gradually, and calves must be monitored and promptly assisted if they are not coping well with the transition.
While these changes offer a better quality of life for Canada’s veal calves, we still have more work to do. For example, there is no requirement in this code that milk-fed calves be fed a larger volume of milk (comparable to Canada’s dairy cow code of practice), and there should be an earlier age requirement for group housing or a requirement to house calves in pairs on arrival (which is recommended but not required in the code).

The final version of the code of practice for veal calves was released today at 12pm EDT. As the only animal welfare organization sitting on the Code Development Committee, CFHS is available to comment on the pros and cons of the code and what these changes will mean for Canada’s veal calves.

ABOUT THE CANADIAN FEDERATION OF HUMANE SOCIETIES
The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies convenes Canada’s largest animal welfare community, representing 52 humane societies and SPCAs across Canada. As Canada’s voice for animal welfare, we drive positive, progressive change to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS)

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