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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

Dehorning Calves

Dehorning Calves.

The Revising Committee's remarks on this subject were as follow:—"Persons interested in the breeding of cattle should be encouraged to adopt the improved methods of dehorning calves intended in the future for the shambles, for the advantage of trucking and general handling of dehorned cattle is obvious to all. These useless appendages (the horns) can be so easily destroyed while in the germ state. The general adoption of this suggestion would soon remove what now appears to be a cruel though perhaps necessary practice, viz., the removal of horns from grown cattle."

Mr Buchanan moved, "That every available means be used to encourage the dehorning of calves, and that the Department be asked to publish a leaflet illustrating the simplest and most effective methods of procedure." He felt satisfied, he said, that great benefit would be derived by the settlers from this practice. He had been in the habit of dehorning his own cattle for several years past, and he had been astonished at the difference it made in handling them, both in the yard and out of it. The resolution alluded to calves, the object being, of course, to show the advantage of dehorning calves rather than grown cattle; there was much less pain and much less disturbance to the animal, and in every way the advantage of dehorning was very great. People who had very little knowledge of stock were apt to declaim against the practice because of its cruelty. There could be no question that the operation was a somewhat painful one, but he had often noticed cattle which had been dehorned commence grazing at once, so that the pain was not of long continuance, and of many hundreds he had thus treated he had never lost a single animal, and he had dehorned them at all ages. The Courts in Scotland had decided that the practice was quite legal, and in passing through the United States on three separate occasions, he noticed the practice had been adopted to a very large extent.

The motion was seconded by Mr W. Henderson, who said that in Banks Peninsula the practice had become very common.

Mr Overton said he did not think the question was brought forward with a view of advocating dehorning cattle, but to point out that this apparent cruelty could be avoided by the very simple method of destroying the germ of the horn.

The resolution was then put and carried.