How many animals eat with their tails

Manipulation of animals

In order to prevent injuries to humans and animals, cattle are usually kept without horns. This is the case with both beef cattle and dairy cows. It is widespread to destroy the horns of calves a few weeks old with a fuel rod. This procedure is very painful for the calves because the horn and the layers of skin underneath are well supplied with blood and run through with nerves. The calves are often given a sedative beforehand. However, this is not enough to prevent or relieve the pain. Only a local anesthetic, which the veterinarian has to perform, the administration of a pain reliever and a sedative lead to adequate pain relief. However, this is not required by law. In the organic sector and for animals that are kept according to the guidelines of the label “For more animal protection”, burning out the horns is only permitted in exceptional cases and only with local anesthesia by the veterinarian, sedation and painkillers.

In recent years, the use of genetically polled bulls has also become more and more popular. Their offspring do not have horns, so that no horn systems have to be destroyed. This eliminates the need for painful dehorning, but the horns are an important means of communication for cattle. The painful mutilation of the animals should therefore be avoided and cattle with horns should be kept.

So that neither animals nor people are injured, it is important that the animals are peaceful and have more space in the barn. Cattle usually inflict mutual injuries from horn blows if they are kept in overly crowded pens and cannot avoid one another. A constantly changing composition of the herd is also disadvantageous because the order of precedence within the group has to be redefined again and again. The risk of injury to people is lower when people and cattle know each other and the cattle have trust in the people who look after them.

Since keeping horned cattle places higher demands on the livestock owner and management and is also more expensive due to the larger amount of space available, this must be rewarded with a higher milk price.