Moving on to the tenacious and innovative, animal-friendly and particularly intriguing production methods of Peter’s Farm in Uddel, the Netherlands, we see a different approach to calf rearing. Here, the calves are kept in large herds and have access to toys, double portions of roughage and teats if they need them for suckling. An advanced computer system recognises each individual calf and makes sure they receive the right amounts of milk replacer. They seem to know there is no need to compete, so the calves wait their turn patiently and calmly. The same computer system keeps an electronic diary for each of the calves.
In addition to happy calves, Peter’s Farm operates a policy of transparency, allowing members of the public to visit the farm or watch the calves on a dedicated online webcam. Yet it goes even further than that. Since the system was first introduced at Peter’s Farm in 1996, about 30 more calf rearing farms in the Netherlands now operate according to this alternative production system for white veal. To keep the consumers happy, supermarkets include on its packaging barcodes that can be entered into a special website and will take you straight to the website of the farm which the product came from. There, you can find out more about the farming families and the people who looked after the calves. For anyone wishing to visit the farms, there are regular open days for the public. www.petersfarm.nl