Jersey beef farm up for welfare award

A Hampshire-based farm is in the runnings for a national welfare award for its work turning unwanted Jersey bull calves into premium beef.

Woodlands Jersey Beef is up for a Good Calf Commendation at Compassion in World Farming’s (CiWF’s) Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards, which will take place on 27 September.

Owners Jane and Paul Denley have made a thriving business out of buying Jersey bull calves – which are considered too light for beef production and usually culled at birth – into premium beef, which they are now supplying to top restaurants including Le Gavroche and renowned chef Michel Roux.

The pair – whose herd has grown to 110 head of cattle in just four years – also sell their products online and through farmers’ markets, and are currently planning the opening of their own farm shop.

The calves are bought at 10 days old from five Jersey dairy herds in the Hampshire region and fed twice daily on milk feeds for four to five months until they are weaned and put out to pasture. They are then raised naturally outdoors for two to three years and fed on grass, hay and sugar beet. They are given no routine antibiotics or supplements.

Jane Denley said: “I have always been concerned by the treatment of dairy bull calves, particularly Jersey calves, and was lucky enough to be in a position to do something about it. We entered the Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards because it is a great way to raise awareness of what we do, which is good for our business, but also to raise awareness of the poor treatment of bull Jersey calves. We also firmly believe that the meat we produce is superior to other beef and have dozens of testimonials to prove it.”

Steve McIvor, director of Food Business at CiWF, added: “The work Woodlands Jersey Beef do to improve the plight of Jersey bull calves and the fact that they have been able to make a successful and profitable business out of it is a fantastic story and an example to everyone.”

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