Veal farmer: the welfare of my animals is the most important thing to me

Veal farmer: the welfare of my animals is the most important thing to me

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Nestled in a remote valley, between the National Trust’s Kingston Lacy and Crichel estate, lies Bradford Farm.

This stunning farm in Witchampton is home to farmer Harry Street and his 250 veal calves, flock of free range turkeys, herd of beef cattle and flock of sheep.  

Before Harry, the son of a London stockbroker, left home for Newcastle University his parents bought the farm and decided to retire to the Dorset countryside.  

When he graduated with a degree in countryside management, Harry seized the opportunity to persuade his parents to invest in his vision for an RSPCA Assured veal enterprise.

A year later in 2013, Harry started taking in his first three-week-old veal calves - otherwise destined to be shot - from local dairy farms.  

"With thousands of dairy bull calves shot at birth each year because they can’t be reared for milk production, deciding to rear unwanted calves for veal was a no brainer for me. 
"The welfare of my animals is the most important thing. If they're happy, I am happy.  So choosing to farm under the RSPCA Assured scheme to high welfare standards was an easy decision."

Harry Street, 25, veal farmer

His business has since gone from strength to strength and he now rears about 400 veal calves a year.

In stark contrast to the way most continental veal calves are raised in


barren houses with no straw - Harry’s calves live in warm, light, well-ventilated, barns with plenty of straw bedding.

When they arrive at less than three weeks old they can weigh just 50 kilograms and six months later as much as 300 kilograms.  So giving them plenty of space to move around and grow is really important too.

The calves are fed a high protein milk diet for the first 10 weeks.  Then they are fed on special cakes, rich in iron and fibre, and straw to keep them healthy.

Once they reach three months Harry moves most of his calves to a larger local farm, where he continues to grow them for the Brookfield Farm veal range sold in Tesco and Ocado.  

The rest of the calves remain at Bradford Farm and their meat is sold locally to people and businesses - including the fine-dining restaurant Number 9 in Wimborne - via Harry’s own direct meat selling business Harry Street Meats.

Contrary to popular belief, under Harry’s regime, veal calves aren’t slaughtered for their


"With people becoming ever more conscious of the importance of healthy eating, veal is a great option.  It’s low fat, versatile and has great flavour.  
"It hasn’t been popular in recent years due to the stark images of young calves being packed in lorries and taken to the continent, but calves from RSPCA Assured farms are never transported abroad.  
"Our calves have a good life and I’m confident that’s why veal is now making a comeback."     

Harry Street, veal farmer

meat until they are about eight months old by which time they look like almost fully grown cattle.

 As well as pointing out he’s helping unwanted dairy bull calves have real value in the farm industry, Harry is also keen to stress the health benefits of eating veal.

It’s obvious how much Harry is dedicated to caring for his calves and, as if his rapidly expanding veal enterprise isn’t enough to keep him busy, he has also started farming turkeys, lamb and beef available to order direct from the farm

Date: 10 Jan 2016