Recently a grazier was found guilty of animal cruelty because a cow’s overgrown horn had pierced its eye
The overgrown horn was discovered when the cow was sent to a local abattoir and reported to the Livestock Compliance Unit at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) who prosecuted the owner.
Cases like this emphasise the benefits of having polled cattle OR to humanely disbud young calves to avoid horns developing. But, where cattle are horned, there must be regular checks on horn growth to ensure horns are tipped if they pose a risk of injury. The industry promotes the use of polled breeds as there is no need to disbud, dehorn or deal with issues of horned stock. Meat and Livestock Australia has produced a guide to best practice branding, castrating and dehorning.
Livestock without horns:
- Are less likely to hurt or injure other livestock.
- Are less likely to hurt or injure themselves.
- Are easier to handle.
- Cause less damage to farm infrastructure such as yards, gates and troughs.
- Require less space during transport.
- Require less space in feedlots.
- Are easier to catch in a head bail and apply ear tags to.