Recognition of pain in calves and decisions around treatment among farmers in UK


AWF Research Fund



Research Period


Area of study

Student Research


Investigator(s): Ellie Miller

Supervisor(s): Ginny Sherwin

One of the five freedoms is the freedom from pain, injury, and disease. Whilst the prevention and avoidance of pain, injury, and disease is the ultimate aim, it is not always possible. Calves frequently encounter painful conditions from endemic diseases such as diarrhoea and respiratory disease, as well as routine husbandry interventions, such as disbudding.   The use of NSAIDs in endemic diseases (including diarrhoea and bovine respiratory disease (BRD)) in calves have been shown to be beneficial, but to date there have been no studies investigating farmers use of NSAIDs in such cases.
This study aims to determine whether farmers recognise pain in calves suffering from endemic diseases and the likelihood of farmers to give analgesia to calves with endemic disease. It also aims to determine the motivators and barriers to farmers using NSAIDs in calves suffering from endemic diseases.
The ultimate aim of the project is to ensure that the welfare, health, and performance of calves is the best it can be.
The knowledge of how farmers perceive pain in calves, as well as what motivates them to provide pain relief and possible barriers to usage, will aid veterinary surgeons in implementing the best evidence-based treatment protocols on farms.
Watch Ellie present the findings of her research projects at the 2023 Discussion Forum here. 


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