Genetics and analgesics added to castration, dehorning policy

Published on December 31, 2012
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The AVMA Executive Board approved revisions to the AVMA policy on cattle castration and dehorning that account for genetic selection and pain management, as proposed by the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee.
The policy “Castration and Dehorning of Cattle” was adopted in 1985, revised in 2008, and considered by the Animal Welfare Committee during its fall 2012 meeting, in accord­ance with the directive that all AVMA policies be reviewed every five years. The committee’s deliberations included input from AVMA members, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners Board of Governors, and the AABP Animal Welfare Committee.
In its recommendation, the AVMA committee stated its belief that genetic selection is an important consideration regarding alternatives to dehorning and should, therefore, be mentioned in the policy. The AWC also believes that pain should be mitigated, not only during the procedure but also postoperatively. Consequently, the committee suggested adding language regarding use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
The revised “Castration and Dehorning of Cattle” policy is posted here.