26 May 1995

Demo veal unit to open

A NEW welfare-friendly veal demonstration unit, funded by MAFF, will open this month. Based at the ADAS Rosemaund research centre near Hereford, the project will run for a year.

A steering group, chaired by ADAS, will guide the work. In addition to MAFF, other members of the group include leading British veal producers, suppliers of milk powder and calves, the NFU, Meat and Livestock Commission, and the RSPCA.

The unit, run on commercial lines, will be open to visitors by appointment from July. Calves will be loose-housed in straw-bedded yards, and the veal produced from a throughput of more than 200 calves will be marketed in the UK and abroad.

Farm minister William Waldegrave admits that there is a massive public resistance to veal that is produced "in the kind of cruel crating systems which are banned in the UK". He insists, however, that the new unit will demonstrate that veal can be produced in a welfare-friendly way.

But as a speciality product, it is likely to be a small-scale venture for the foreseeable future. Farmers who want to produce veal should identify their market before they begin, he warns. &#42