One of the biggest welfare problems in the dairy industry is the production of new-born calves that are seen as unwanted, as all the milk from their mother is considered for “human consumers”. As a result, calves are separated at birth and placed often into plastic igloos or small barren pens where the calf has no opportunity to grow socially, to run and play or to feel safe and sound. All the male calves and all of the unwanted females are then transported off the dairy farm at just 10-14 days of age. When still wobbly on their legs and totally confused and vulnerable. Almost all of them end up in factory veal farms where they are kept in small pens on slatted floors and never go outside. For this reason, we have been urging the dairy industry to change from within and keep the calves with their mothers, in the herd. Yes, it means dairy will be more expensive, as the calves drink 1/3 to 1/ 2 of the mothers’ milk and only the leftover goes for sale, but sharing is caring !
We are so pleased that Lebkov & Sons coffee chain (with 8 locations in the Netherlands, including Utrecht, Leiden and Rotterdam train station and several scattered throughout Amsterdam) is now only going to offer “ Kalverliefde” milk. Kalverliefde is a dairy label that came out in early 2022 and is milk coming from dairy farms where the farmer does not separate the calves at birth but keeps the males for at least 35 days with the mother and more often 2.5 – 3 months, and the females all stay with the mother for 2.5 – 3 months. The calves are weaned gradually, not abruptly. At this age, the calves are already ruminants, able to eat roughage and are social with others their own age, no longer just dependent on their mother for play and safety. We are also so pleased that Plus Supermarket is also going to seel Kalverliefde at their stores (on top of most large Albert Heijns). This is a HUGE step in the right direction. Thanks to Lebkov and Plus supporting this initiative, another dairy farmer in the Netherlands interested in keeping the calves in the herd with their mothers was able to make the switch and now produces for Kalverliefde ! The more support there is for Kalverliefde dairy, the more dairy farmers wanting to keep the calves with their mothers can afford to do so. Thank you Lebkov and Plus for supporting Kalverliefde !