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Calf Rearing (Broiler System)

Volume 655: debated on Thursday 8 March 1962

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the result of the investigations carried out at his experimental centre into the rearing of calves by the broiler system, referred to in his Parliamentary Answer on 16th May, 1960; and if he will make a statement.

Early in 1960 a small-scale observation study was carried out at Great House Experimental Husbandry Farm. Satisfactory results were obtained in this case by allowing the calves reasonable freedom of movement in small groups in ordinary accommodation, and keeping them not in darkness but in a subdued light. There was no evidence to suggest that the special milk substitute used in this method of rearing was detrimental to the health of the calves, to live weight gain, or to the quality of the final products.

I thank the Parliamentary Secretary for his reply. Can he state with confidence that he has equal assurance that the methods being used on many private farms are not leading to cruelty in the rearing of calves? Is he aware that this is a matter which has roused very great public interest? What assurances can he give that he is satisfied that on private farms there is no abuse?

One cannot say that one is satisfied that nowhere is an animal kept in domestic conditions subjected to any form of cruelty. But there is a law in this country to prevent cruelty. I did try to show that when calves are being fed for veal there is no reason why it should be under unpleasant conditions.