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The European veal industry is specialised in raising surplus dairy calves on a low iron milk diet to obtain white meat. Next to Holstein-Friesian (HF) dairy calves, also beef calves of local breeds, such as the Belgian Blue (BB) breed in Belgium, are raised as white veal calves. Marked differences in milk diet exist between these breeds, especially considering the quality of the protein (Pardon and others 2012). In a recent survey on mortality in veal calves in Belgium, perforating abomasal ulcerations, either fundic or pyloric, accounted for 3 per cent of mortality, with marked differences between HF (6.4 per cent) and BB (1.2 per cent) (Pardon and others 2012). Fatal ulcerations are only the tip of the iceberg, revealing a larger underlying health and welfare issue of non-fatal ulcerations. A recent study determined the within-herd prevalence of pyloric ulcerations in The Netherlands, France and Italy at 74.1 per cent on average, ranging from 31.7 per cent to 100 per cent (Brscic and others 2011), but no information on fundic ulcerations was mentioned. The only study on the prevalence of fundic ulcerations in the European veal production system is a Swiss study in a veal production system with exceptionally high welfare standards, resulting in a total of 23 per cent of fundic lesions in the standard production system, and 8 per cent in the naturafarm production system (Bähler and others 2010). In addition …
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