AVMA’s new veal welfare policy

The American Veterinary Medical Association announced last week that they had passed a groundbreaking policy on veal calf housing that promotes both animal health and welfare. The resolution passed by a landslide 88.7 percent vote.

The new policy states "that the AVMA supports a change in veal husbandry practices that severely restrict movement, to housing systems that allow for greater freedom of movement without compromising health or welfare."

The former policy consisted of only a few points on living conditions, including that the area the calves are kept in permits them to stretch, stand, and lie down comfortably.

"This is encouraging on two levels," explains Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA chief executive officer. "First, we are proactively seeking to improve the welfare of veal calves, and second, the resolution still affords the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee the opportunity to do a comprehensive analysis of the science and to consider all relevant perspectives of veal calf production."

The confinement of veal calves and other farm animals is one of many issues that animal activists are passionate about.  Currently the Human Society of the United States is leading a campaign in California to pass legislation know as Proposition 2.  Prop 2 is aimed mostly towards egg-laying hens, pregnant sows, and calves raised for veal in order to improve their living conditions.  Perhaps the steps taken by the AVMA with new veal calf policies will help to continue their campaign.