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Cattle Welfare
Illegal use of elastrator rings on calves aged over seven days
  1. David Harwood1,
  2. Sophia Hepple2 and
  3. Jane Clark3
  1. AHVLA – Winchester, Itchen Abbas, Winchester, Hampshire SO21 1BX
  2. AHVLA, Animal Welfare Team, Defra, Area 8B, 9 Millbank, London SW1P 3JR
  3. AHVLA, Veterinary and Technical Services Team, Corporate Headquarters, C3 Government Buildings, Whittington Road, Worcester WR5 2LQ
  1. e-mail: sophia.hepple{at}

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AS part of its scanning surveillance programme, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) regional laboratory network regularly undertakes diagnostic postmortem examinations on calves. In addition to producing a report on its findings to the submitting veterinary practitioner and client, and the provision of diagnostic data to VIDA (Veterinary Investigation Diagnosis Analysis), all submissions and accompanying histories are also under constant welfare scrutiny. Any concerns raised at regional laboratories are resolved wherever possible through dialogue with the submitting practitioner. As part of the AHVLA's role in communicating on emerging animal health and welfare problems, it is sometimes necessary to highlight issues of concern.

Unfortunately, within months of reporting cases of illegal tail-docking in calves (VR, May 14, 2011, vol 168, p 518), we are now having to report on illegal castration procedures in calves.

Recent submissions to AHVLA regional laboratories indicate that the illegal practice of applying rubber …

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