The Dark Side of Dairy – A Report on the UK Dairy Industry

fats like lard or tallow and a protein meal such as

meat and bone meal).

The current estimates are that 100,000 to 150,000

bull calves are shot within hours of birth in the UK

(62). Viva! filmed the shocking fate of the male

calves at farms supplying milk for the confectionary

giant Cadbury. For more information and footage go

to www.whitelies.org.uk or our YouTube page


The Veal Industry

All calves raised for veal worldwide are male calves

that are by-products of the dairy industry. In many

countries such as the USA – from which we import

some dairy products – veal crates are still the

predominant rearing system (8, 63). These tiny

wooden crates are so narrow that the calves cannot

turn around for most of their lives, depriving them of

exercise and preventing normal muscle development

– to keep their flesh supple. They are also fed an

iron-deficient diet to produce the anaemic ‘white’

veal prized by gourmets. Calves kept in these

conditions suffer from high incidences of infectious

disease and develop stereotyped behaviour patterns

such as tongue rolling, crate-licking or mutual

tongue sucking (7, 8).

Veal crates were banned in the EU in 2007 but veal

production (within any rearing system) still requires

calves to be separated from their mothers within a

day of birth. These calves are then placed in pens or

hutches, alone or with several other calves, before

they are sold to be reared mostly as ‘rose veal’. They

are then slaughtered at around six months of age,

although some may be older (64, 65).

The UK also exports calves to the EU to be raised for

veal. The live export of veal calves to the EU restarted

in 2006 after (due to BSE) a 10 year ban. In 2011

exports were estimated to be around 11,000 calves

(per year) (66).

UK Veal Production

Although the veal crate was banned in the UK in

1990 due to the immense cruelty involved, the UK

Two dairy calves removed from their mothers

seek what little comfort they can from each other

Photo©Damian Bird


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