M&S stops sales of 'cruel' white veal from stores

By Louise Barnett
Sunday 18 September 2011 21:04

One of Britain's leading retailers is banning imported white veal and calves' liver from its stores, it announced yesterday.

Marks & Spencer pledged to sell only rose veal bred in the UK to decent welfare standards, bowing to the demands of campaigners who have complained for years that animals bred for this type of meat are reared in small, cramped crates and fed a poor diet.

M&S will remove all imported white veal from its stores from Wednesday and stock the British-reared alternative from January. Calves' liver will also be banned from M&S because it comes from animals bred for white veal.

The animal rights campaign group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) says calves bred for white veal are forced to live in cramped crates that restrict their movement and muscle growth. They are fed a milk diet for their entire lives, which gives their meat its white colour, and are slaughtered when eight months old.

M&S said the British-produced rose veal comes from animals reared in well-lit barns and fed a natural diet, which meets the welfare standards of Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA.

The high street chain's director of food, Steven Esom, said: "We have banned white veal as we were increasingly unhappy with the animal welfare standards associated with the rearing of calves."

M&S will source its rose veal from a family-run farm based in Lothian.

The move by the department store comes soon after another decision that pleased animal rights activists. York City Council has passed a motion condemning the sale of foie gras, leading campaigners to intensify pressure for a national ban on the sale of the product, which is produced by force-feeding ducks and geese until their livers become enlarged.

At a council meeting on Thursday councillors backed the proposal, which suggested that members should oppose, in principle, the sale of the bird liver gourmet product anywhere in the city.

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