For you to be sure that Natura-Veal and Natura-Beef come from species-appropriate suckler cow husbandry when you buy them at the supermarket, unannounced but strict controls are carried out on a regular basis. (Photo : Nadine Strub)
Production operations are regularly checked by an independent inspection body. As a rule these checks are unannounced, i.e. the inspector turns up at the farm without warning at any time. This guarantees that the situation can be assessed accurately. However, it also requires a great deal of flexibility on the part of the farmers, as they have to change their daily programme from one moment to the next in order to be available for the check.
Most of the checks for the Natura-Beef and Natura-Veal labels take place in the winter months. This is partly because many suckler cow herds spend the summer high on the alps, and those deprived of alp holidays spend every day on the meadow, their natural habitat. Of course, checks are carried out here to ensure, for instance, that the animals are well, have enough drinking water and a place to shelter in hot weather. Furthermore, herds are sometimes left out on the pasture during the night, to avoid heat stress.
During the vegetation period, suckler cows and calves are on the pasture every day. The reliable implementation of the requirements is controlled by an independent inspection body (Photo : mad)
However, the requirements for stabling in winter are more diverse and complex. That’s why more checks take place in this season, in order to verify that the regulations for Natura-Beef and Natura-Veal are respected. The animals must be able to move around freely, have enough room to lie down and to feed, and enjoy outdoor exercise in the fresh air on a daily basis. Moreover, feeding is controlled. Natura-Beef and Natura-Veal stand for meat from grass – apart from grass, hay and grass silage, only a small amount of grain or maize is permitted, while soya and products containing palm oil are prohibited. The evaluation of the animals themselves is very important: Are they in good shape? Are they clean? Are sick animals treated in a professional manner? Are suckler cows together with their calves?
Fortunately, the producers of Natura-Beef and Natura-Veal get very good marks. It is clear that they put their hearts and hands to the job, and are committed to the welfare of their suckler cows and calves day and night.
The assessment of the animal‘s condition is a central point of each check. The experienced inspectors can ’read the animals’ and see right away if there’s something wrong in the stable. (Photo : mad)