GFM Network News


Castration can be one of the most stressful and painful experiences for livestock.

Castration tips and pain control

Better to castrate bull calves at a younger age, otherwise growth can be affected

There are numerous reasons for bull calf castration beyond reducing sexual activity and reproduction. Bulls are naturally aggressive and so castration becomes necessary for the herd’s welfare and the protection of those that work with them. Bulls exhibit a lower-quality, inconsistent, tougher, less marbled carcass than steers. They also deliver a much larger number of […] Read more

Producers are expected to seek guidance from their veterinarian on the optimum method and timing of castration.

What we’ve learned about castration in beef cattle

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

When Canada’s 2013 Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle was being developed, some participants felt it should require pain control for castration at all ages, like the dairy code. The producers and researchers on the beef code committee were confident that pain control was beneficial for feedlot bulls and dairy […] Read more


Two-month-old calves were numbered to identify them as they were sampled for blood and weighed through the chute.

Pain control in cattle remains a complex issue

The age of the animal is often a factor when considering pain mitigating options

When it comes to pain mitigation practices for her cattle operation, Cecilie Fleming believes it’s the right thing to do. It’s also proven to be practical and cost-effective, factors that many beef producers consider when deciding whether to implement pain control. Fleming, who raises purebred Angus, Simmental and Charolais cattle with her family at Fleming […] Read more

How castration method and age affect pain in young calves

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Canada’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle requires that castration be performed by an experienced person who uses proper, clean, well-maintained equipment and accepted techniques. A producer is expected to seek guidance from their veterinarian on the optimum method and timing of castration, as well as the availability and advisability […] Read more


That’s gotta hurt

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Marketing executives for grocery and restaurant chains track consumer perceptions and attitudes towards issues like livestock production practices, animal welfare and pain control. These surveys sometimes lead to initiatives that impose specific production standards on suppliers so the company can distinguish itself and showcase its products. From the other side, animal welfare researchers study how […] Read more

Looking for ways to manage the pain

The cattle industry is moving toward low stress handling, better ways to manage cattle, etc., but one issue that still needs to be addressed is pain management for routine procedures such as branding, castrating and dehorning. Dr. Eugene Janzen at the University of Calgary says the veterinary profession is rapidly changing its attitude to pain […] Read more