The board of the American Veal Association has passed a resolution recommending that the entire veal industry convert to group housing by the end of 2017.
According to the resolution, the AVA officially recognizes both traditional and group housing as viable and acceptable for veal calves. Nevertheless, the AVA board recommends a transition to group housing in light of a number of factors.
Group housing already accounts for about 10 percent of U.S. veal production. Many large retail and food-service organizations now consider animal welfare in concert with purchasing decisions. In Europe, legislation imposed group housing on veal producers more than a decade ago.
The AVA board believes the following:
- that the veal industry bears responsibility for safeguarding the health and well-being of all animals under the industry's collective care
- that research has progressed to the point where group housing is now viable for veal calves
- that the veal industry must be aware and mindful of consumer concerns
- that consumers of veal and other livestock products expect the highest standards of animal welfare.
- that the trend of scrutiny from retail and food-service organizations will continue in response to such consumer expectations
- that the veal industry's conversion to group housing will promote industry stability and growth
The AVA board also encourages additional industry research so that group housing is available to all U.S. veal producers in the near future.