Steagall, P. V., Bustamante, H., Johnson, C. B. et al. 2021. Pain management in farm animals: Focus on cattle, sheep and pigs. Animals 11(6), 1483.
Pain causes behavioral, autonomic, and neuroendocrine changes and is a common cause of animal welfare compromise in farm animals. Current societal and ethical concerns demand better agricultural practices and improved welfare for food animals. These guidelines focus on cattle, sheep, and pigs, and present the implications of pain in terms of animal welfare and ethical perspectives, and its challenges and misconceptions. We provide an overview of pain management including assessment and treatment applied to the most common husbandry procedures, and recommendations to improve animal welfare in these species. A cost-benefit analysis of pain mitigation is discussed for food animals as well as the use of pain scoring systems for pain assessment in these species. Several recommendations are provided related to husbandry practices that could mitigate pain and improve farm animal welfare. This includes pain assessment as one of the indicators of animal welfare, the use of artificial intelligence for automated methods and research, and the need for better/appropriate legislation, regulations, and recommendations for pain relief during routine and husbandry procedures.