Why producers prefer to use pain relief at castration

John Campbell, 8th Boehringer Ingelheim Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-being, Canada

Dehorning, branding and castration are animal welfare issues of public concern and nowadays farmers understand they need to be addressed.

The need for dehorning is decreasing thanks to the breeding of polled cattle.

Although still common, branding is also on a downward trend.

Castration is not showing a decrease because the market continues to appreciate steer meat. There is little research on the use of pain relief around castration. Anecdotally, producers using injectable meloxicam suggest that calves reunite with their mothers faster when they were given pain relief. This results in a clear net benefit for the farmer, since it is easier - less work and effort - to move the herd post-castration.

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