Lameness is prevalent among broiler chickens and there is concern that it is chronically painful. The administration of an analgesic has been frequently used to identify pain in lame farm animals. Therefore, in this study the ability of lame and normal broiler chickens to traverse an obstacle course was tested after treatment with the analgesic, carprofen, a placebo saline injection or a control handling procedure. Sound birds traversed the course in approximately 11 seconds, irrespective of treatment. Lame birds took approximately 34 seconds to traverse the course, unless they received carprofen, which reduced their completion time to 18 seconds. Thus, carprofen substantially increased the speed of lame birds, providing evidence that birds with moderate lameness suffer pain when they walk.
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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