American Veal Association adopts ethical principles and code of conduct

February 3, 2010 08:19 AM
Delegates to the 2010 American Veal Association (AVA) annual meeting adopted a statement of ethical principles and code of conduct as a way to articulate veal industry principles and confirm an industry commitment to "veal raised right.”
”Veal producers recognize that consumers, restaurants, retailers and policy makers want to know that they can count on the veal industry to provide humane care and sustainable practices,” said AVA President, Chip Lines-Burgess. "By adopting and embracing these principles, we can help our consumers and customers better understand our commitment to producing safe, nutritious food, protecting the environment, caring for our animals, providing a safe, rewarding work environment and contributing to our communities. These are the values the veal industry believes in.”
The statement of ethical principles and code of conduct were adopted unanimously by veal industry delegates attending the 2010 AVA annual meeting in San Antonio on January 29. The ethical principles and code of conduct were initiated as a project of the veal checkoff funded Joint VIM/VQA Committee and were identified by a cross-section of veal industry participants during a working session in July 2009. The draft language was distributed to the veal industry with a survey for feedback and to determine whether the proposed ethical principles fairly represent the guiding values of today's veal.
The final document was submitted to the AVA delegates in an effort to bring full industry alignment to the principles that guide today's veal industry. "The veal industry is well on its way to meeting a voluntary effort to transition all veal farms to group housing by 2017, " said Lines-Burgess. "The adoption of the ethical principles and code of conduct reflects our continued commitment to provide leadership in the areas most important to our customers and consumers. We will continue to work with farmers and others in the industry to ensure they are incorporated into all aspects of veal calf well-being and farm management practices.”
In May 2007, the AVA's Board of Directors voted unanimously to adopt a resolution calling for all U.S. veal farms to transition to group housing systems by December 31, 2017. The Board also encouraged more research to aid farmers in the transition. Today, the AVA estimates that approximately one-third of veal calves are raised in group housing.
Ethical Standards and Code of Conduct for the US Veal Industry
The U.S. veal industry recognizes that consumers and customers expect our practices and products to reflect our obligation to produce safe food in a responsible manner consistent with the values of our customers and consumers. To foster more confidence in our practices and promote a better understanding of our guiding principles, we affirm the following ethical standards and code of conduct for those involved in the US veal industry:
Food Safety: Producing safe and nutritious food is our first responsibility
Veal Producers are expected to:
§ Adopt on farm and management practices consistent with producing safe food
§ Adopt animal care practices consistent with producing safe food
§ Use animal health products judiciously
§ Continually review practices for improvements that protect food safety
Animal Care: We have an ethical obligation to provide appropriate care for our animals at every stage of life
Veal Producers are expected to:
§ Safeguard and promote the health and well-being of animals in their care
§ Provide appropriate water, food, shelter, handling and transportation at all times
§ Respect the special considerations and needs of young calves
§ Provide appropriate veterinary care at all stages of life, and when necessary timely euthanasia.
Environment: We have an obligation to protect the air, land and water on which we all depend
Veal Producers are expected to:
§ Conserve and manage manure and other nutrients as a resource
§ Assure that production and other management practices protect our natural resources including land, air and water.
§ Continually review environmental management activities for improvement and sustainability
Employees: We have an ethical responsibility to provide a safe, healthy and rewarding work environment for our employees
Veal Producers are expected to:
§ Treat every employee with dignity and respect
§ Provide proper education and training in all areas of farm management and animal care
§ Promote a safe and healthy work environment
§ Promote understanding of and adherence to veal industry ethical principles
Community: We have a duty to promote a quality way of life in the communities where we live and work
Veal Producers are expected to:
§ Actively participate in activities that strengthen the community
§ Engage neighbors and the community in an open and honest manner
§ Resolve to listen to and address reasonable community concerns
§ Seek to leave the community and natural resources in a better condition for future generations
The American Veal Association represents 1,000 producers, processors and others involved in the $1.5 billion U.S. veal industry. Veal producers purchase calves at 100 pounds raising them until they reach a market weight of 475-500 pounds. Veal producers contribute $350 million to the dairy industry through purchase of dairy by-products and male calves. The veal industry purchases 5.5 percent of all the milk solids produced in the United States.

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