Media Statement -- Buckeye Veal
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The following media statement can be attributed to Gaylord Barkman, director of service and sales for Buckeye Veal. This statement is issued in response to undercover video released by animal activists on August 31, 2010.

"For more than 30 years, Buckeye Veal has been committed to quality calf care and we take our commitment to providing for the well-being of the veal calves at our farms seriously. We take very seriously any allegations made about our farm, especially those that suggest mistreatment of our animals.

We have been made aware of a video released by an animal rights group about veal production which focuses on Buckeye Veal and individual stall housing. This sensationalized video is deceptive to viewers because it includes shots from multiple farms and dairies not affiliated with Buckeye Veal in any way. In fact, only a small percentage of the footage is from our farms.

"Careful review of this video does not show any mistreatment of animals at Buckeye Veal. The footage shows calves in two of our facilities, both of which are in the process of being converted to group housing, a new system that does not use individual stalls or tethering.

"After viewing the video, Buckeye Veal sent it to David Wolfgang, V.M.D., DABVP-Dairy, who is an Extension Veterinarian at Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Here are his expert opinions on the footage shown from our farm:

"Obviously, some of the clip was not shot at a veal farm. Footage from the Buckeye Veal farm did not show care or treatment that would be judged as abusive or mistreatment. In the video, calves appear to be healthy, curious, not filthy, and so tame that the technician could take a blood sample to check for hematocrit without restraint. This is a good management practice to ensure the calves are healthy, and wouldn’t be different than you or I going to the lab for a blood sample for us."

David Wolfgang, V.M.D., DABVP-Dairy
Penn State University

"We know from experience that veal calves can be properly cared for in both individual and group pens. However, we know that needs and demands of our customers are changing. That’s why we made a decision to convert all our facilities to group housing, a process scheduled to be completed by 2013. This is well ahead of the deadlines established by the American Veal Association and many veal raising states across the nation. In fact, at one of the two barns shown in the video, 85% of the calves are not tethered and are in group housing. The final room, (remaining 15%) will be converted to group housing in 4 weeks and 100% of the incoming calves will be in group pens. At that point, we will begin the process of converting the second barn.

"Buckeye Veal has long been committed to the quality rural life that makes Ohio so unique. All of the workers on the farm are deeply committed to the proper care of our animals. We will continue to work with them to ensure they receive the training and guidance necessary to raise wholesome veal in a responsible and ethical manner.”

Note:
Dr. David Wolfgang is available for further comment and can be reached at
(814) 863-5849 or via email at drw12@psu.edu.