Extensive outdoor or indoor production
In these systems, calves are reared in small groups in straw-bedded barns. They are provided with an adequate space allowance per calf and may have access to the outdoors. They are fed a normal diet for growing calves, without restriction of iron intake and solid food.
In the best systems, the calves are able to suckle from an older cow that was retired from the dairy herd. These systems provide greater comfort, reduced risk of injury, and better opportunities for natural behavior, social interaction, and exercise.
US states banning veal crates
While there is no federal law banning veal crates in the US, a number of states have individually banned or restricted their use. Buying veal produced in these states helps to ensure that the calves had greater freedom to move around and engage in natural behaviors: Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Rhode Island. Ohio has also instituted a restriction on veal crates that will take effect in 2018.
Veal companies phasing out crates
Some of the top veal-producing companies in the US have voluntarily phased out veal crates. At least some of these companies, such as Strauss Veal, claim to raise their veal calves completely on pasture where they are able to live with their mothers and drink their milk.
Calves reared in suckler herds have the health and psychological benefits of suckling from their mothers, natural diets, and increased opportunities for natural behavior, social interaction, and exercise.
You can help to improve the welfare of calves reared for veal in a number of ways.