Milk veal - care instead of antibiotics? 2

Milk veal – care instead of antibiotics?


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

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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.

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.

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.