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A comparison of welfare outcomes for weaner and mature Bos indicus bulls surgically or tension band castrated with or without analgesia: 1. Behavioural responses

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Petherick, J. C., Small, A. H., Mayer, D. G., Colditz, I. G., Ferguson, D. M. and Stafford, K. J. (2014) A comparison of welfare outcomes for weaner and mature Bos indicus bulls surgically or tension band castrated with or without analgesia: 1. Behavioural responses. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 157 . pp. 23-34. ISSN 0168-1591

PDF (Comparison of welfare outcomes for weaner and mature Bos indicus bul)

Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2014.05.003

Publisher URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168159114001361


Tension-band castration of cattle is gaining favour because it is relatively simple to perform and is promoted by retailers of the devices as a humane castration method. Furthermore, retailers encourage delaying castration to exploit the superior growth rates of bulls compared with steers. Two experiments were conducted, under tropical conditions, comparing tension banding and surgical castration of weaner (7–10 months old) and mature (22–25 months old) Bos indicus bulls with and without pain management (ketoprofen or saline injected intramuscularly immediately prior to castration). Welfare outcomes were assessed using a wide range of measures; this paper reports on the behavioural responses of the bulls and an accompanying paper reports on other measures. Behavioural data were collected at intervals by direct observation and continuously via data loggers on the hind leg of the bulls to 4 weeks post-castration. Tension-banded bulls performed less movement in the crush/chute than the surgically castrated bulls during the procedures (weaner: 2.63 vs. 5.69, P < 0.001; mature: 1.00 vs. 5.94; P < 0.001 for tension-band and surgical castration, respectively), indicating that tension banding was less painful then surgical castration during conduct. To 1.5 h post-castration, tension-banded bulls performed significantly (all P < 0.05) more active behavioural responses indicative of pain compared with surgical castrates, e.g., percentage time walking forwards (weaner: 15.0% vs. 8.1%; mature: 22.3% vs. 15.1%), walking backwards (weaner: 4.3% vs. 1.4%; mature: 2.4% vs. 0.5%), numbers of tail movements (weaner: 21.9 vs. 1.4; mature: 51.5 vs. 39.4) and leg movements (weaner: 12.9 vs. 0.9; mature: 8.5 vs. 1.5), respectively. In contrast, surgically castrated bulls performed more immobile behaviours compared with tension-banded bulls (e.g., standing in mature bulls was 56.6% vs. 34.4%, respectively, P = 0.002). Ketoprofen administration appeared effective in moderating pain-related behaviours in the mature bulls from 1.5 to 3 h, e.g., reducing abnormal standing (0.0% vs. 7.7%, P = 0.009) and increasing feeding (12.7% vs. 0.0%, P = 0.048) in NSAID- and saline-treated bulls, respectively. There were few behavioural differences subsequent to 24 h post-castration, but some limited evidence of chronic pain (3–4 weeks post-castration) with both methods. Interpretation, however, was difficult from behaviours alone. Thus, tension banding is less painful than surgical castration during conduct of the procedures and pain-related behavioural responses differ with castration method (active restlessness in response to tension banding and minimisation of movement in response to surgical castration). Ketoprofen administered immediately prior to castration was somewhat effective in reducing pain, particularly in the mature bulls.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Keywords:Beef cattle Pain Stress Castration Ketoprofen
Subjects:Veterinary medicine > Veterinary surgery
Animal culture > Cattle
Live Archive:20 Jan 2015 23:47
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:50

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