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Differences in the acute pain responses of two breeds of lamb following castration and tail docking with the rubber ring method

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Charolais × and Suffolk × Mule lambs of less than one week of age were castrated and tail docked using a standard rubber ring technique. After these procedures, their behaviour was monitored for 1 h. Their respiration rates and scrotal sac measurements were also recorded. Both breeds of lamb exhibited abnormal behaviour patterns following these procedures. The recumbent behaviour pattern of both breeds was remarkably similar but their standing behaviour differed markedly. The Charolais × lambs were significantly more active and had significantly higher respiration rates compared with the Suffolk × lambs. They also took a greater amount of time to recover to a normal posture. Their abnormal behavioural responses suggested that both breeds of lamb experienced acute pain following castration and tail docking, but the type of behaviour exhibited was breed-dependent. The findings suggest that different breeds of lamb may experience different levels of distress in response to the same husbandry procedure. Alternatively, they may simply reflect a difference in the character and temperament of the breeds studied.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2004

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