RSPCA Australia's Humane Food Podcast

The deal with veal, and how we can improve bobby calf welfare. With Melina from the RSPCA

August 06, 2019 RSPCA Australia Season 1 Episode 5
RSPCA Australia's Humane Food Podcast
The deal with veal, and how we can improve bobby calf welfare. With Melina from the RSPCA
Chapters
RSPCA Australia's Humane Food Podcast
The deal with veal, and how we can improve bobby calf welfare. With Melina from the RSPCA
Aug 06, 2019 Season 1 Episode 5
RSPCA Australia

Brian Daly interviews RSPCA Australia’s Senior Scientific Officer, Melina Tensen, to find out more about bobby calves in the Australian dairy industry, and how we can improve their welfare. 

Many Australians value dairy in their diets but may not be aware of the plight of male dairy calves which are often considered a by-product of the dairy industry.

For a dairy cow to produce milk she must first give birth to a calf. In the dairy industry female calves are kept and reared as replacements for the milking herd, but male calves are surplus to the industry’s needs. 

In Australia, around 675,000 male dairy calves are born every year. Many of these calves are either killed on farm at birth or, in the case of around 450,000 male calves, destined for slaughter at five days old because there isn’t currently a market for them. Calves as young as five days are not equipped to withstand the rigors of transport, and legislation allows calves to be off feed for 30 hours and transported for up to 12 hours. 

Raising excess dairy calves for veal is one way in which the value of an animal that would otherwise be destined for slaughter at five days old can be increased. By increasing their value and providing an alternative market, there is real potential to improve the welfare of bobby calves.

First released in 2017, the RSPCA Approved standards for dairy veal calves are the most recent addition to the Scheme. By developing these standards, the RSPCA’s objective is to support dairy farmers in a dual purpose farming model by encouraging the rearing of these calves for veal, assuring that they will be raised to better welfare standards.

While there currently isn’t an RSPCA Approved dairy veal product in the market, the RSPCA has been talking to farmers and industry about increasing the value of an animal that would otherwise be considered a by-product of the dairy industry and the opportunity of supplying a humanely farmed veal or beef product to Australian consumers and food service. 




Key points:

-          What is a bobby calf

-          The welfare issues facing bobby calves in Australia 

-          Innovations in the Australian dairy industry 

-          Ways that Australians can help bobby calves 




Further links:

https://rspcaapproved.org.au/ 

https://rspcaapproved.org.au/2018/07/12/the-deal-with-veal 

https://rspcaapproved.org.au/2015/07/07/whats-the-deal-with-dairy 

https://kb.rspca.org.au/article-categories/dairy-cattle/ 

Show Notes

Brian Daly interviews RSPCA Australia’s Senior Scientific Officer, Melina Tensen, to find out more about bobby calves in the Australian dairy industry, and how we can improve their welfare. 

Many Australians value dairy in their diets but may not be aware of the plight of male dairy calves which are often considered a by-product of the dairy industry.

For a dairy cow to produce milk she must first give birth to a calf. In the dairy industry female calves are kept and reared as replacements for the milking herd, but male calves are surplus to the industry’s needs. 

In Australia, around 675,000 male dairy calves are born every year. Many of these calves are either killed on farm at birth or, in the case of around 450,000 male calves, destined for slaughter at five days old because there isn’t currently a market for them. Calves as young as five days are not equipped to withstand the rigors of transport, and legislation allows calves to be off feed for 30 hours and transported for up to 12 hours. 

Raising excess dairy calves for veal is one way in which the value of an animal that would otherwise be destined for slaughter at five days old can be increased. By increasing their value and providing an alternative market, there is real potential to improve the welfare of bobby calves.

First released in 2017, the RSPCA Approved standards for dairy veal calves are the most recent addition to the Scheme. By developing these standards, the RSPCA’s objective is to support dairy farmers in a dual purpose farming model by encouraging the rearing of these calves for veal, assuring that they will be raised to better welfare standards.

While there currently isn’t an RSPCA Approved dairy veal product in the market, the RSPCA has been talking to farmers and industry about increasing the value of an animal that would otherwise be considered a by-product of the dairy industry and the opportunity of supplying a humanely farmed veal or beef product to Australian consumers and food service. 




Key points:

-          What is a bobby calf

-          The welfare issues facing bobby calves in Australia 

-          Innovations in the Australian dairy industry 

-          Ways that Australians can help bobby calves 




Further links:

https://rspcaapproved.org.au/ 

https://rspcaapproved.org.au/2018/07/12/the-deal-with-veal 

https://rspcaapproved.org.au/2015/07/07/whats-the-deal-with-dairy 

https://kb.rspca.org.au/article-categories/dairy-cattle/