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They urge calves to be housed in small groups to improve their welfare

To improve the well-being of fattening calves during their first weeks of life,” they should House in small groups and avoid using individual pens. Calves also need enough space to rest and play, as well as access to a comfortable mattress. These are some of the recommendations published in Scientific Opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to support the review of EU legislation relating to animal welfare.

FRA scholars noted that Calves should be fed fiber in long, thin strandslike hay, From two weeks of age And that the amount should be increased gradually over time. “A high fiber intake is needed to cover rumination and iron needs,” say the experts.

As they explain in a reportScientific data show that Calves with limited contact with the mother often experience isolation fatigue and the inability to nurse. “To improve their welfare, young animals should be kept in the dam for at least one day, although longer contact is recommended because of the benefits of care for both the calf and cows.”

Scientific advice to support legislators

Scientists have evaluated the breeding systems used in the European Union for calves and identified the risks to the animals, as well as the implications for their welfare. The assessment provides scientific advice to support decision-making by lawmakers within the framework of the ongoing review of EU animal welfare legislation. A legislative proposal from the European Commission is expected during the second half of 2023.

The European Commission has asked the FRA to obtain several scientific opinions on farm animal welfare as part of its ‘farm to fork’ strategy. The FRA has already published assessments on the welfare of pigs, chickens, laying hens and animals in transit. “Our scientists are finalizing assessments covering the care of dairy cows, ducks, geese and quail,” they announced.

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