Cattle (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock (PB7949)

Section 2 - Calf rearing


Under the Protection of Animals (Anaesthetics) Act 1954, as amended, it is an offence to castrate calves which have reached two months of age without the use of an anaesthetic. Furthermore, the use of a rubber ring, or other device, to restrict the flow of blood to the scrotum, is only permitted without an anaesthetic if the device is applied during the first week of life.
Under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, as amended, only a veterinary surgeon may castrate a calf which has reached the age of two months.
116. Stock-keepers should consider carefully whether castration is necessary. If it is necessary, there are three methods which can be used to castrate calves:
  • a rubber ring or other device, which can only be used in the first seven days of life, by a trained and competent stock-keeper, to restrict the flow of blood to the scrotum;
  • bloodless castration, by a trained and competent stock-keeper, by crushing the spermatic cords of calves less than 2 months old, with a burdizzo;
  • castration by a veterinary surgeon, using an anaesthetic.
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