What's the issue?
Castration and disbudding of calves is routinely practised throughout the cattle industry to reduce the risk of injury to both animals and their keepers, and facilitate husbandry.
Disbudding and castration cause both acute pain at the time of the procedure and chronic pain, as evidenced by behavioural change, for a variable time following the procedure.
What's our view?
Calves should be routinely provided with appropriate analgesia to manage pain associated with disbudding and castration.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be used in addition to local anaesthesia when disbudding and castrating calves.
Stock-keepers and vets should discuss the analgesic regimes to be used and vets should prescribe appropriately licensed NSAIDs and other analgesic medicines as required.