Ajuda, I., Battini, M., Mattiello, S. et al. 2020. Evaluation of pain mitigation strategies in goat kids after cautery disbudding. Animals 10(2), 277.
Nowadays, most of the goat milk production in developed countries is done in intensive indoors production systems. In these systems, procedures such as disbudding are performed routinely. Disbudding is done in young goat kids and is a recognised as a painful procedure. Pain mitigation strategies have been extensively researched, but a method that is effective in mitigating pain as well as being safe and practical has not yet been found. In this paper we used three treatment groups: one control and two groups with pain mitigation strategies for cautery disbudding, one using local anaesthesia (lidocaine) and a second one using local anaesthesia (lidocaine) plus an analgesic (flunixin meglumine). The behaviour of twenty-seven goat kids was recorded for three hours after disbudding. Overall, the goat kids that received both pain mitigation treatments dedicated more time performing active and positive behaviours. Nevertheless, the incidence of behaviours related to pain and discomfort was not consistently reduced. Research is still needed to find a practical and effective pain mitigation strategy for disbudding. A solution to this challenge would improve animal welfare as well as address societal concerns linked to the suffering of farm animals.