Tens of thousands of dairy calves still need regular antibiotics. There would be a way out.
Most calves in Switzerland, over half a million, were born on dairy farms. Immediately after birth, the vast majority of calves are weaned.
A third of calves become dairy cows, and a few fatten and fatten. About 100,000 calves leave the mother's milk factory every year and go to fattening.
These so-called calf dairy calves are the weakest calves in Switzerland. Therefore, they receive the most antibiotics. Because: Calf health care is paid to dairy farmers.
Antibiotic consumption: a study by the University of Bern
It could also be done with less antibiotics. The study shows, The link opens in a new window University of Berne Vetsuisse: Under the guidance of veterinarian Mireille Meylan, antibiotic consumption has been reduced by more than five times and mortality has halved. The most important criterion: Only healthy calves were brought directly from birth to fattening. There they were vaccinated against pneumonia and kept in one needle for three weeks. After quarantine, they entered a group needle with a covered jet, fresh air and plenty of litter.
Exposed to many germs
Mireille Meylan from the University of Berne's Vetsuisse explains: "Usually they have not been vaccinated before. Milk producers would have to get a financial vaccination fee, so that makes sense.
At the fattening farm, where calves from different farms congregate, according to veterinarian Meylan, calves are exposed to viruses and bacteria: "This is a new environment because they are also stressed and destined for disease." Particularly pneumonia. About four percent of fattening calves die prematurely.
Numbers from the Animal Traffic Database
In 2018, out of a total of 676,025 live births, 23,248 calves died in all calves after 30 days and 37,034 calves after 120 days.
Voluntary measures for less antibiotics
To keep calves healthy after moving, about 10% of all dairy calves are treated with the first milk, vaccines and vitamins. Therefore, the antibiotic dose may be reduced in some cases. Farmers are paid by farmers for additional work with the so-called 'health drunkards'.
Veal drinks with mother cow
In quite different ways, back to nature, there are now some fifty farms in Switzerland with predominantly etiquette and dairy products. They run so-called body and breastfeeding. Calves are not drunk from a nougat or bucket of milk, but twice a day with a nurse or their own mother cow. These have several advantages, explains Claudia Schneider, who advises Bio-Suisse: "Calves do not exhibit behavioral problems such as mutual Besäugen." In addition, calves are simply more robust and barely need antibiotics.
Award winning breast milk
Martina Knoepfel of the Brüederhof in Canton Zurich proves that milk distributed with calves can still be of the highest quality. Here calves can be visited by mothers twice a day for several hours. About five liters drink a little calf at each udder. After that, suckler cows can be milked on the machine if they have been used to it from the beginning. In the past, authorities have not purchased the Brüederhof for this system, but have never complained about organic milk. On the contrary, the Knoepfel family has received several awards for this milk.
The problem of this calf rearing: Due to a legal article in the animal feed regulation, the sale of this milk is not explicitly prohibited, but is not actually allowed.
Consultation on the revised regulation has recently come to an end. If it goes into effect in the new year, dairies could legally sell their milk. Major distributors Migros and Coop have so far expressed no interest in the label.
Statement by Swiss milk producer Swissmilk
"The use of antibiotics in Swiss livestock has halved in the last ten years and will continue to decline. It has been proven that growing calves on average require very little medication use. In addition, a large number of farmers have been inseminating cows in a very targeted manner. so there are barely any "excess" calves.
Swiss milk producers support the activities of the KGD Calf Health Service. In our view, breweries that meet these additional requirements must be paid an extra price. But that fails today because the downstream areas are not yet sufficiently motivated.
The Swiss SMP milk producers generally agree with the legalization of maternal milk and have expressed their views in the consultation. So far this has not been a problem for major distributors. "