Disbudding is a routine procedure commonly performed in kids in intensive goat farms for increasing safety for other animals and workers, and reducing the need for space during resting and feeding. However, disbudding is a painful procedure that affects kids’ welfare. As consumers are increasingly aware of animal farming practices, especially the ones that can lead to suffering and pain, effective and practical pain mitigation strategies to reduce the suffering of goat kids due to disbudding are required. We studied two different pain mitigation strategies for this procedure, one using local anaesthesia (lidocaine) and a second one using local anaesthesia (lidocaine) plus an analgesic (flunixin meglumine). Kids in both treatments dedicated more time performing active and positive behaviours than kids that received no pain mitigation treatment. Therefore, both treatments had some positive effects on welfare; however, the incidence of behaviours related to pain and discomfort was not consistently reduced. It is crucial that pain mitigation strategies as well as possible alternative solutions to disbudding continue to be investigated. A solution to this challenge would improve animal welfare as well as address societal concerns linked to the suffering of farm animals.


Ajuda I., Battini M., Mattiello S., Arcuri C., Stilwell G. (2020) Evaluation of pain mitigation strategies in goat kids after cautery disbudding. Animals, 10: 277 [Link: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/10/2/277/pdf ].