Horn Talk Blog

What the AVMA Says About Disbudding and Dehorning Cattle

Posted by Dave Lucas on Thu, Sep 1, 2011

The American Veterinary Medical Association, which represents more than 80,000 veterinarians, is one of the most respected and trusted voices on animal health and welfare issues. In 2006, the AVMA created its Animal Welfare Division to focus on the great challenges animal welfare issues present to the profession as well as to producers.

Cattle dehorning is one of the main issues where the AVMA has taken a leading and active role. The AVMA's Policy on cattle dehorning contains two basic tenets:

  • Dehorning should be done at the earliest age practicable.
  • Disbudding is the preferred method of dehorning calves.

Recently, the AVMA released a 7-page, well-researched backgrounder titled "Welfare Implications of the Dehorning and Disbudding of Cattle." For anyone interested in this topic, it's a must-read report. Here's what it covers:

  • Cattle horn anatomy
  • The difference between disbudding and dehorning
  • How disbudding and dehorning are regulated in other countries (it's not regulated in the U.S.)
  • The benefits of disbudding and dehorning
  • Animal welfare concerns from a science and risk-based perspective
  • Pain management
  • Alternatives

As usual, this AVMA Backgrounder is extensively researched and well thought-out.

Another AVMA resource to look at is their video on the organization's Policy on Pain Control for Dehorning. We've blogged about this video before but it's worth revisiting.

What are your thoughts about AVMA's policy and research on disbudding and dehorning of cattle?

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Topics: AVMA Policy, Animal Welfare