Veal range provides new outlet for dairy bull calves

SUPERMARKET Marks & Spencer has launched the widest range of high-welfare British veal products on the high street, providing a retail outlet for hundreds of dairy calves every year.

Its new range has received the backing of the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming as a welfare-friendly alternative to the thousands of dairy calves exported to the continent or shot on the farm every year.

The veal will be produced exclusively for M&S by the Smith family, who run a dairy farm in Scotland, and already supply milk to M&S as part of the retailers Milk Pledge Scheme.

Steven Esom, director of food at Marks & Spencer said: “High animal welfare is at the heart of our business which is why we have taken the lead in introducing the largest range of British veal available on the high street.

“Not only does selling British veal guarantee a high-welfare product for our customers, it is also a delicious range that we hope they will enjoy.”

The scheme builds on the work of the industry group Beyond Calf Exports Stakeholders Forum, which has seen retailers, animal welfare charities, politicians and industry leaders work to find a viable outlet for male dairy calves in the UK.

The latest scheme from Marks and Spencer will provide a boost to other retailers which have also been looking at ways to utilise male dairy calves, be it in veal or in finishing Holstein bull claves as beef animals.

Philip Lymbery, chief executive of Compassion in World Farming welcomed the move. He said: “This is fantastic news. M&S has again raised the bar on animal welfare by committing to stock only higher-welfare British veal.

“Not only that, all the bull calves used for their welfare-friendly veal will be supplied by one of their own dairy farmers. This is a great example of how retailers can work with their suppliers to find humane uses for bull calves.”

The launch of the British veal range follows the retailer's announcement last year of its ban on the sale of imported white veal and calves liver, committing to introduce entirely British veal in 2008.

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