Common management practices can cause animals acute and chronic pain, but it’s not due to a lack of awareness or empathy on the part of producers, says Joe Stookey, large-animal expert at the University of Saskatchewan.

Pain-control methods on farm animals are not easy to administer or user-friendly, making them unrealistic in terms of cost and labor.

So, Stookey and his colleagues are investigating inexpensive, easy-to-use, on-farm strategies for animal-pain relief -— for instance, the least painful way to de-horn calves and the best way to deliver painkillers to piglets before they undergo any procedure. “We hope to get a better understanding of animals’ perceptions of pain, and make producers’ ability to control that pain as easy and affordable as possible,” he says.