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Numnuts Phase 2: Humane, Low Pain Method for ‘marking’ Young Ruminants

​Castration and tail dockingremain important husbandry  procedures for sheep  in Australia, but Both result in distress to the animals through associated pain. 

'Elastrator' constrictor rings, the most widely used methodology for castration and tail docking, cause notable and sustained pain and discomfort to young lambs.  A substantial body of scientific evidence demonstrates that the methodology is ineffective in meeting the modern standards of animal welfare (Mellor and Stafford, 2000).

Thusfar market attempts to administer pain relieving drugs conjoined with the application of constrictor rings have, in practice, failed.  While the administration of an anaesthetic or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is technically demonstrable under controlled conditions (Coetzee, 2012), it is too cumbersome and risky (due to neele stick injuries) to apply in practice. 

Consumer pressure focussing upon animal welfare is building, demonstrated by the increasing number of examples of campaigns initiated by animated consumer groups e.g. Animals Australia, RSPCA Australia and PETA, which are influencing broader consumer behaviour and buying patterns.  Campaigns concerning eggs, , and the welfare of dairy cattle, chickens and pigs  have led to changed codes of practice and legislation.  As a result consumer behaviour is increasingly migrating towards products that have some form of explicit animal welfare promise labelling even if this carries with it a pricing premium.  It is possible that developments in government legislation may follow.


Title Size Date published
601.7KB 13/09/2017


Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
Numnuts Phase 2: Humane, Low Pain Method for ‘marking’ Young Ruminants
15/06/2014 30/08/2015

This page was last updated on 06/07/2018