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Papers of the Week

2022 Apr 09

Animals (Basel)



Ontario Dairy Producers’ Perceived Barriers and Motivations to the Use of Pain Control for Disbudding and Dehorning Calves: A Qualitative Study.


Saraceni J, Renaud DL, Nelson E, Van Os JMC, Miltenburg C, Winder CB
Animals (Basel). 2022 Apr 09; 12(8).
PMID: 35454220.


Canadian dairy farmers are required to use a local anesthetic and analgesic prior to all disbudding and dehorning procedures. This study was done to investigate the opinions of Ontario dairy farmers on the use of pain control for disbudding and dehorning calves and their perspectives on the current requirements of the quality assurance program. Interviews were conducted with 29 dairy farmers across Ontario. All participants used a cautery iron to disbud or dehorn their calves and some form of pain control (i.e., NSAID and/or local anesthetic). Of the 29 producers that were interviewed, 22 (76%) were in compliance with the proAction requirements for pain control. Many participants felt positive about the use of pain control for these practices. Education from veterinarians was one of the most commonly listed resources to reduce barriers to pain control use by producers. A farmer's attitude was highly referenced as an influence on producer behaviour. Although participants had positive views of pain control use, full compliance with national quality assurance requirements for disbudding and dehorning was not met by all. Producer education through veterinarians is a potential avenue to encourage the adoption of pain control use for disbudding and dehorning practices.