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Measuring pain in farm animals?

A great deal of work has been carried out in farm animals, which undergo painful procedures such as tail docking and castration as part of normal farming practices.

A number of different research groups have identified some key behaviours that indicate pain. These are illustrated on this short video clip

The movie shows newborn lambs feeding normally, standing and looking alert, then resting quietly.

After castration and tail-docking, they show a series of abnormal behaviours, including movements of the limb, tail and head, especially full extension of the hind-limbs.

Lambs also show dog-sitting and abnormal lying.

These behaviours can be scored accurately enough to distinguish between lambs that have had a local anaesthetic to prevent pain, and those who have had no pain relief (Ref #4).

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