Producers pay careful attention to their calves’ diet. They are fed reconstituted milk powder, a high-quality product resembling the formula given to nursing infants. This high-energy and high-protein diet ensures the animal’s proper development until it reaches maturity at around 20 weeks of age, at which time it weighs about 460 pounds (210 kg). This diet is what gives milk-fed veal its pale pink and tender quality. It is important to know that milk-fed veal producers, in conjunction with all industry stakeholders, stopped using growth hormone implants in 2004.
A healthy environment
Since feedlots contain young calves from numerous dairy farms, producers must absolutely prevent the spread of germs and diseases. Milk-fed calf feedlots are therefore carefully cleaned and disinfected and the air quality in the buildings is closely monitored.
Eager to better respond to consumer needs, milk-fed veal producers are adapting their buildings to collective production methods.
In addition to the daily care provided by the producer, a qualified technician comes to the farm each week to carry out a quality inspection of the animals. This ensures the state of health and well-being of each of the calves, as well as adherence to the feeding program.
Traceability: Tracking each and every veal calf
Thanks to the traceability program implemented in 2002 at all Quebec cattle farms, it is now possible to identify an animal’s origins and trace all of its movements. This system ensures health surveillance from the farm to the slaughterhouse, as well as the protection of public health and the health of the herd.
At birth, each veal calf is identified with an electronic chip and a barcode tag. The technology and automation provided by the chips have provided for a flexible and efficient system. This traceability program, administered by Agri-Traçabilité Québec enables our agricultural products to stand out in domestic and export markets.