ACCEPTING the opinion that the time was coming when there would be no horned cattle in the State, stock inspectors today described some of the processes of dehorning as being "diabolically cruel" to aged animals.
At the annual conference of the Institute of Inspectors of Stock today, Mr. F. J. Madden (Tamworth) said that dehorning of cattle up to six months of age was a very simple operation, but after that age it was most painful, judging by the antics of the animals after the operation.
Many of the animals struggled violently during the operation, said Mr. R. P. Meyer (Inverell), and the pain was intensified by plugging the cavities with an irritating disinfectant.
"I say that it is diabolically cruel to aged cows," said the president (Mr. C. J. Woollett). "I have seen blood spurting in streams 5ft. long."
"Study should be made of the problem of alleviating pain, and the operation should be performed by veterinary surgeons, using an anaesthetic or a hypodermic injection." added Mr. Woollett.
"If more humane methods are not adopted, I can cee the R.S.P.C.A. appearing on the scene."
Other delegates likened the pain to the momentary sensation of having a tooth drawn without a narcotic. It was probably less painful than that suffered from injuries caused by horning.
All agreed that it was economically sound to dehorn, but they favored the operation before six months from birth.
Mr. Max Henry (Chief Veterinary Surgeon) said that with beef cattle the best method was to breed out horns. He could see the time when a race of hornless cattle would exist in the State.