13 April 2000
Farmers to produce veal for Europe

By Robert Davies

A NEW initiative has been launched in a bid set up welfare-friendly veal calf units in Britain and export the meat in carcass form to the Continent.

The project involves a number of British livestock farmers, the Kent-based firm Anglo Dutch Meats and the French company Serval SA.

It aims to put some value back into British dairy bull calves, which have been almost worthless since the end of the Calf Processing Aid Scheme last July.

Veal calves from British farms will be fed on French milk to British welfare standards, finished in straw yards, and then exported deadweight.

The Veal Cymru project – the Welsh arm of the initiative – was officially launched at Fferm y Capel, Bancycapel, Carmarthen, on Thursday (13 April).

The scheme has received funding from the Welsh Development Agency. But no veal will be exported to France until the French ban on British beef is lifted.

Welsh Assembly member Carwyn Jones inspected a 120-calf unit before holding talks with a delegation of potential buyers from Holland and Belgium.

Tony Clifton, who was a leading exporter of live calves from west Wales before the BSE ban put an end to exports in 1996, is co-ordinating the project.

He said: “The product will satisfy demand in several countries, and animal rights activists should be very happy with the welfare-friendly production system.”

The welfare-friendly veal initiative will be launched in England at a Kingsley Hill Farm near Heathfield, East Sussex, on Friday (14 April).

Farm unions are supporting the initiative, which will operate under the date based export scheme to export through Anglo-Dutch Veal.

NFU deputy president, Tim Bennett, said: “This company has created the opportunity to add value to the Friesian bull calves in the dairy industry.

“I am happy to support every chance to create these new markets. I hope it is successful and boosts the production, the image and the consumption of veal.”