I ran into this video the other day and this might very well be the future of modern day veal production. You can argue that it is too expensive for today’s farmers, but with growing concern from the public opinion, this way of raising calves will take away many objections from organisations like the HSUS.
Initiatives like this are worth investing in more to see if there are good, economic alternatives for today’s common practices of the way veal calves are raised.
Since I am a European myself I can confirm that I have seen elements of this system in action. I have worked with both individual as well as group housing. At first I was also sceptical, but as I learned how to deal with group housing, I found that the overall health of the calves ready for slaughtering was a little better. This was mostly due to the fact that they were able to walk around in the pens.
With the group housing system the calves are kept individually for the first 6 weeks. In my opinion this will always remain a good thing to do because of prevention, control and spreading of diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. Another thing that comes with group housing is that for the best end results, you have to continue to sort the calves by weight and health status. Separate the sick calves from the rest in order to give them the best chance of recovery and further growth. At the same time prevent spreading of diseases among the herd. By sorting the healthy calves into larger and smaller calves you are able to feed larger, heavier calves more milk.
Group housing will become a reality some day, you can count on that. But you don’t have to wait until that day comes to improve the conditions the veal calves are kept. There are several things you can do today. Read it in the article I have written about successful veal calf prodution.