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1. Potential improvements to avoid sources of pain in farming

1. Potential improvements to avoid sources of pain in farming

Environmental enrichment through provision of bedding and maintenance of stable groups reduces but does not entirely eliminate the risk of this

Changes in farming conditions seen in Europe and North America over the past 50 years have led to widespread practices such as dehorning, castration (pigs, calves, sheep, chickens, done through caponisation for the latter), docking (cattle, sheep, pigs) or debeaking. These mutilations are often justified as a means to reduce the risk of illness or injury from other animals (pecking, cannibalism), improve product quality (castration in pigs, cattle and chickens produces more marbled meat with a sensory quality preferred by consumers), or make farm work safer (dehorning for example) or easier. These practices however cause pain to the animals. , 2009).

There are alternatives but this is not always the case, and these alternatives themselves come with drawbacks. Carcasses also need to be checked to verify that the immunisation was effective after vaccination and all boar taint has been removed. As it stands, there has been little documentation of the vaccine’s effects on animal welfare. From this point of view, the aforementioned Cooperl initiative that examines the issue of castration at a supply chain level is interesting.

There are also alternatives to tail docking. Tail docking of dairy cows is an interesting case of a very old, painful practice that was abandoned without any economic or health repercussions after it was demonstrated that there would be no adverse effect to udder cleanliness if it was not done.

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