Drawing a Curtain on Cruel Confinement of Veal Calves

The end of cruel confinement methods for veal calves in the United States is drawing ever closer. In 2007, the American Veal Association (AVA) pledged to transition away from solitary crates and neck tethers to group housing by the end of 2017. Since calves are social animals, this was a significant industry shift toward higher-welfare practices. Fast forward 10 years to the beginning of 2018, and the AVA has confirmed that all its members have successfully completed the move to group housing and have stopped tethering calves.

Starting this year, Ohio veal producers will be subject to similar standards—in this case, codified into law. In 2009, Ohio citizens voted in favor of an agriculture industry–backed ballot initiative to create the “Ohio Livestock Care and Standards Board,” which was tasked with creating new livestock standards for the state. The board worked with the industry and animal welfare organizations and agreed to create new regulations to phase out solitary confinement for veal calves, which went into effect on January 1, 2018. The new regulations stipulate that calves must be able to fully turn around in their enclosures, and that they be housed in group pens by 10 weeks old.

In 2014, Kentucky’s Livestock Care Standards Commission also agreed on a similar, mandatory phase-out goal for veal crates, which went into effect at the beginning of this year. Seven other states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Rhode Island) have also made commitments to ban veal crates.