#BehindtheNumbers: Alliance-funded research contributes to new on-farm pain management protocol to improve calf welfare

Posted on Friday, February 12th, 2021

This image shows black beef cattle eating. The accompanying text reads Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance 2019-20 Annual Report. "78 new projects: Research projects awarded operating funding to drive innovation in the agri-food sector."

Dairy calves are an integral part of Ontario’s $2.2-billion dairy industry. Access to a world-class research and innovation system — including the Ontario Dairy Research Centre and six Alliance-funded projects over 18 years — resulted in better on-farm pain management practices during disbudding (the process of removing the horn bud in young calves for the safety of other cows and farm staff) and the licensing of a new pain management drug in Europe and Canada. Long-term Alliance investment helped identify and promote the new pain management  protocol. Here’s how this research has made an impact on Ontario farms.

More producers and vets use a nerve block (e.g, Lidocaine) during disbudding

  • Producers: from 22 per cent in 2004 to 62 per cent in 2014
  • Vets: from 92 per cent in 2004 to 97 per cent in 2014

More producers and vets use NSAID pain control post-disbudding

  • Producers: from 0 per cent in 2004 to 24 per cent in 2014
  • Vets: From 2 per cent in 2004 to 48 per cent in 2014

New two-part pain management best practice

  • Required on all Canadian dairy farms via a national dairy standard called proAction®

New U of G online training module teaches students and producers how to use new pain management protocol

  • 150 veterinary students and 43 dairy producers have completed the online training

NSAID meloxicam licensed in Canada and Europe for use in calves thanks to Alliance-funded research

#BehindtheNumbers is a series of stories from the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance 2019-20 Annual Report, Growing Ontario Solutionsthat showcases how the Alliance drives impact in Ontario.

News Archive