Welfare outcomes of calves of two ages castrated by rings: final report

Petherick, J.Carol (2012) Welfare outcomes of calves of two ages castrated by rings: final report North Sydney, NSW, Australia: Meat and Livestock Australia

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Author Petherick, J.Carol
Title of report Welfare outcomes of calves of two ages castrated by rings: final report
Parent publication The University of Queensland Queensland, Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
Publication date 2012-12-01
Year available 2012
Publisher Meat and Livestock Australia
Series B.AWW.0008
Place of publication North Sydney, NSW, Australia
Total pages 39
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Subjects 300400 Animal Production
300404 Animal Husbandry
300499 Animal Production not elsewhere classified
Formatted abstract
The current Code of Practice for the Welfare of Cattle states that rings should not be used for castrating calves older than 2 weeks age, although anecdotal reports suggests ring castration occurs in cattle up to 10 or more months of age in northern Australia. This study examined the welfare outcomes of 60, 3- and 6-month-old Belmont Red calves surgically, ring or sham castrated in central Queensland in late February 2012. There were few differences with age, but behavioural responses suggested greater pain in the surgical than ring castrates during the first few days post-castration. Thereafter, wound inflammation steadily declined and healing proceeded in the surgical castrates, but inflammation increased in the ring castrates to 2 weeks post-castration before declining at week 3. Behavioural responses of the ring castrates indicated that they were in pain during this latter period and there was evidence of delayed wound healing, particularly in the 6-month-old calves. Responses observed here and reported in the literature indicate that castration is painful. Therefore to improve calf welfare, pain relief should be provided for castration and, given the timing of inflammatory pain, this is more likely to be most practical and cost effective, with less handling stress, for surgical castration, although efficacy requires testing.
Keyword Cattle welfare
Q-Index Code AX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Sat, 23 Mar 2013, 00:53:37 EST by Dr Carol Petherick on behalf of School of Veterinary Science