The provision of pain relief with routine husbandry practices is now an expectation, and producers need to consider the use of pain relief products in their animals, but also alternate husbandry procedures and management practices. 

This module outlines available products, their costs and when they are suitable to use, as well as best practice recommendations for specific husbandry practices, and considerations for alternatives to some current husbandry practices.

Additional resources and further reading are available in the Materials tab.

Learning objectives

At completion of this module, you will:

  • understand the animal welfare standards and guidelines for cattle castration
  • understand the differences between popular pain relief options
  • understand the differences between immediate and chronic pain in cattle
  • understand the differences between local anaesthetics and NSAIDs
  • be able to identify the best pain relief option to use for castration.

Fact Sheet: Pain relief in southern cattle

Fact Sheet: Pain relief

Further reading

Small, A, Fisher, A, Lee, C and Colditz, I (2020). Gap Evaluation of Pain Alleviation Research. Final Report to AWI.

Sutherland, M, Bright, A and Schütz, K (2019). Effect of a buccal meloxicam formulation on the behavioural response to ring castration of calves. Animal Production Science; 59: 564–569. https://doi.org/10.1071/AN17641.

Olson, M, Ralston, B, Burwash, L, Matheson-Bird,H and Allan, N (2016). Efficacy of oral meloxicam suspension for prevention of pain and inflammation following band and surgical castration in calves. BMC Vet. Research; 12:102. DOI 10.1186/s12917-016-0735-3.

Lomax, S and Windsor, PA (2013). Topical anesthesia mitigates the pain of castration in beef calves. J Anim Sci; 91:4945-4952




About Instructor

Meat & Livestock Australia

MLA’s purpose is to foster the long-term prosperity of the Australian red meat and livestock industry by investing in research and marketing activities. Through it's subsidiary companies, MLA also accelerates innovation across the value chain and delivers the industry’s integrity and on-farm quality assurance programs. Care is taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in all eLearning modules. However, MLA cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained in the training packages. You should make your own enquiries before making decisions concerning your interests. MLA accepts no liability for any losses incurred if you rely solely on this material and excludes all liability as a result of reliance by any person on such information or advice. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all rights are expressly reserved. Requests for further authorisation should be directed to the Content Manager, PO Box 1961, North Sydney, NSW 2059 or info@mla.com.au. © Meat & Livestock Australia 2020 ABN 39 081 678 364. MLA acknowledges the matching funds provided by the Australian Government to support the research and development detailed in this eLearning module.

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Training package Includes

  • 6 Items
  • 5 Quizzes