Veal association adopts code of conduct

by Bryan Salvage
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MESHOPPEN, PA. — A statement of ethical principles and code of conduct as a way to articulate veal industry principles and confirm an industry commitment to “veal raised right” were unanimously adopted by delegates of the recently held 2010 American Veal Association (A.V.A.) annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

A.V.A. represents 1,000 producers, processors and others involved in the $1.5 billion U.S. veal industry. Veal producers purchase calves at 100 lbs. raising them until they reach a market weight of 475-500 lbs.

“By adopting and embracing these principles, we can help our consumers and customers better understand our commitment to producing safe, nutritious food, protecting the environment, caring for our animals, providing a safe, rewarding work environment and contributing to our communities,” said Chip Lines-Burgess, A.V.A. president.

The veal industry is getting closer to meeting a voluntary effort to transition all veal farms to group housing by 2017, Mr. Lines-Burgess said. In May 2007, the A.V.A.’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. Currently, A.V.A. estimates approximately one-third of veal calves are raised in group housing.

To foster more confidence in their practices and promote a better understanding of their guiding principles, ethical standards and a code of conduct were affirmed for those involved in the U.S. veal industry. Producing safe, nutritious food is the first responsibility. Veal producers are expected to: Adopt on-farm and management practices consistent with producing safe food; adopt animal-care practices consistent with producing safe food; use animal health products judiciously; and continually review practices for improvements that protect food safety.

Regarding animal care, veal producers are expected to safeguard and promote the health and well-being of animals in their care; provide appropriate water, food, shelter, handling and transportation at all times; respect the special considerations and needs of young calves; and provide appropriate veterinary care at all stages of life, and when necessary timely euthanasia.

Addressing the environment, veal producers are expected to conserve and manage manure and other nutrients as a resource; assure that production and other management practices protect natural resources including land, air and water; and continually review environmental management activities for improvement and sustainability.

Regarding their employees, veal producers are expected to treat every employee with dignity and respect; provide proper education and training in all areas of farm management and animal care; promote a safe and healthy work environment; and promote understanding of and adherence to veal industry ethical principles

Within their communities, veal producers are expected to actively participate in activities that strengthen the community; engage neighbors and the community in an open and honest manner; resolve to listen to and address reasonable community concerns; and seek to leave the community and natural resources in a better condition for future generations.
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