Injuries, ailments and surgery hurt. On days you slam your hand in a gate, wake up with a knee that’s more sore than usual, or are admitted to a hospital for an operation, anti-inflammatory painkillers (analgesics) and drugs that block all nerve sensation (anesthetics) are things to be grateful for. Pain is expected in life, but the ability to avoid or diminish it at times not only makes our days more pleasant, pain mitigation helps to keep us productive and able to look after ourselves.
Common sense and scientific evidence tells us that the same goes for cattle.
There’s no doubt that cattle experience pain but as a prey species, they have evolved to hide the signs. Researching pain and pain control in stoic animals is difficult but scientific knowledge is building. At the same time, consumers’ understanding and expectations of animal welfare have changed. Pain control drugs are now available for cattle and on the occasions they’re needed, those products have both costs and benefits to producers.
So as a beef producer, what do you need to know about the science, incentives, and practical options for preventing and controlling pain in your animals?Watch this short video, then visit www.beefresearch.ca/pain and talk to your veterinarian. The webpage includes information on the pain control products licensed and available for beef cattle in Canada, as well as the recommendations and requirements listed in the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle when performing painful procedures like castration and dehorning.