Independent report

FAWC report on the implications of castration and tail docking for the welfare of lambs

Farm Animal Welfare Council report considering the welfare implications of castration and tail docking of lambs.

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Some methods of castration cause more suffering than others. Pain relief should be given once practical methods of delivering local anaesthetics and analgesics have been developed.

Pain and distress caused by tail docking is less severe than that following castration but it is still a painful mutilation. Farmers should decide, with their veterinary surgeon, whether or not to dock lambs’ tails following an appraisal of the disease risks.

Sheep farmers, the meat industry, operators of farm assurance schemes, and retailers should implement the Welfare Code, which requires careful consideration of the need for castration and tail docking

Retailers and others in the food supply chain should not require castration of lambs and should reward farmers for adoption of a welfare-oriented policy on castration and tail docking.

You can read more about the work of the Farm Animal Welfare Committee.