Total ban on the rearing of milk-fed calves


Key Words :cruelty in breeding of calves

19 September 2013  

Dan Jørgensen (S&D)



Rearing of milk-fed calves is taking place within the EU in spite of the enactment of a number of directives intended to prevent the mistreatment of animals for slaughter. The production of milk-reared calves involves unreasonable suffering for the calves and is in fact a form of organised animal cruelty.

1. Does the Commission consider that the current animal protection provisions as set out in Council Directive 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes (Annex, point 14, on feed), is really being complied with in the rearing of milk-fed calves as practised in the Netherlands, for example?

2. Does the Commission consider that the minimum requirements for the composition of calf feed as defined in Council Directive 2008/119/EC of 18 December 2008 laying down minimum standards for the protection of calves (Annex, point 11), really cover the calves’ need for a nutritious and fibre-rich diet?

3. Will the Commission work towards the comprehensive adoption of new, stricter minimum requirements for calf feed which really meet a calf’s dietary needs as set out, for example, in the Danish implementing order amending the (current) Calf Protection Order BEK 1075 of 22 December 1998, point 10, amendment to para. 15(3)?

4. Will the Commission work towards a genuine ban on the rearing of milk-fed calves in the EU?

Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission

11 November 2013

The Commission does not have any indication of non-compliance with the animal welfare requirements for feed(1) in the EU veal production.

The specific feed requirements as laid down in Directive 2008/119/EC, Annex I(2), ensure that some fibrous feed is given to the calves and represents an improvement for their welfare.

The Commission is currently not considering to amend the feed requirements for calves or to ban the rearing of milk-fed calves in the EU.

(1) Council Directive 98/58, OJ L 221, 8.8.1998, p. 23.
(2) Council Directive 2008/119/EC laying down minimum standards for the protection of calves, OJ L 10, 15.1.2009, p. 11.