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Assessing Pain in Animals

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Assessing the experience of pain in animals is a difficult task, yet one that is important in animal welfare research. Some approaches to pain assessment in animals are reviewed here. General qualities of pain scales and specific parameters suitable for clinical and experimental pain assessments are discussed. It is argued that pain assessment will progress through an integration of objective and subjective observations of behaviour coupled with multiple measures in various other areas. Such multidimensional pain scales allow an adequate characterisation of the complexity of an individual animal's pain experience to be made. This knowledge improves the recognition and treatment of pain and will allow informed moral debate on the acceptability of practices such as castration and tail-docking of lambs.
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Keywords: ANIMAL PAIN; ANIMAL WELFARE; BEAK TRIMMING; CANINE OVARIOHYSTERECTOMY; LAMB CASTRATION; PAIN ASSESSMENT

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-02-01

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