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#1 2010-10-03 02:18:58

uno
I Love A.C.E.
From: Enderby, BC
Registered: 2009-02-22
Posts: 5428
Website

Ethical interventon

On the heels of ChickieBooBoo's adventures in pus filled growths....

It came up once or twice about the ethics of performing a possibly painful procedure on a fully conscious bird with no freezing or means of pain control. I would be intereted to know how fellow ACEers feel about this, because it is a dilemma.

Most of us have had an animal that injures itself or becomes ill and needs treatment. Few of us, I am willing to bet, keep a supply of novocaine (or whatever) in our fridges to numb the patients. So what to do?

I think that sometimes to save a life you have to inflict pain. In the case of CBB's bird, my judgement would have been that this growth was like a monster pimple, was present on the outside of the body and would not require cutting of muscle wall to enter an internal cavity to cure. Therefore, I would have lanced or picked or soaked and squeezed and felt that I was taking unhappy but hopeful steps to prevent the other outcome ; head removal.

I have performed crop surgery on an unsedated chicken to save her life. Again, no muscle wall was cut and I was not digging around in her body cavity. Except for a covering of thin skin, the crop is sort of outside the body, not inside, like a liver or kidney. To me, caponizing a bird is WAY more invasive.

If pain is to be the determining factor in what we do or not with our animals, then none of them should be allowed to give birth without a vet on hand to administer an epidural because I'm here to tell you, birth hurts! :shock:  Castration, dehorning, tail docking, ear tagging, tatooing and other procedures are routinely handled by farmers themselves, all these procedures deal with the outside of the body, all of them are painful, and yet rarely do they lead to death or an ongoing painful condition for the animal. (I have issues with tail docking since it involves spinal column! Even though it happens when young, I think anything done for cosmetic vanity and fashion moves into the no-no range of ethics for me))

If I think my inflicting pain will help an animal, then I grit my teeth and do it. I will NOT dig around  in the body cavity of an animal without anesthetic, leave that to the vets. But it is also my inability to relieve chronic pain that leads me to finally decide to put an animal down. Pain that helps, yes. Pain that just always hurts, no.

And now it's your turn....

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#2 2010-10-03 02:27:19

lovemybirds
I Love A.C.E.
From: west of Red Deer
Registered: 2009-02-21
Posts: 1627
Website

Re: Ethical interventon

We do have a supply of endorphins to help with pain.  I never worry about lancing abcesses and on cattle (and there can be big abcesses on cows).  WHen I lance, the cut is a big X and the cow usually doesn't respond;  not like when she gets a needle.  I think that the skin is so stretched and numb that lancing doesn't hurt.  The other things like castration and dehorning are painful though and will hurt initially until the endorphins or God's painkillers kick in.  I think that things need to be done when the animals are babies, like castration and dehorning because the physical trauma alone is way less.

Last edited by lovemybirds (2010-10-03 02:29:02)


Ameraucanas, leghorns, isabrowns,  English type horses, jerseys, and one defiant standard poodle, and lots of hay.  Hope to breed 2010: Black Sumatra, silverspangled spitzhaubens,   barred rocks, australorps,  and more defiant standard poodles.  Married to the best man in the world and homeschooling 3 children.  Living life dedicated to our Heavenly Father.

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#3 2010-10-03 04:25:12

toybarons
I Love A.C.E.
From: Parkland County, AB
Registered: 2008-08-05
Posts: 3137

Re: Ethical interventon

I have had to lance my bird's foot after it had frostbite. I did it, not certain if I was doing the right thing or not. I lanced the swollen foot and my bird didn't even flinch, struggle or squawk. 24 hours later, her swelling went down and she was able to walk again. I didn't have pain killers. Maybe it was the wrong way to think but I have lanced things on myself and recalled there being no pain whilst doing it. So I figured it would be similiar for the bird.

Would I have had to cut into the bird's body, unless it was a life or death situation, I likely would hesitate not wanting to inflict pain, because I know if I cut into my body, I would hurt. Therefore, I would feel another living creature would feel pain as I would. I suppose that's the way I equate how my birds would feel.


Taking things a day at a time.

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#4 2010-10-03 04:36:28

uno
I Love A.C.E.
From: Enderby, BC
Registered: 2009-02-22
Posts: 5428
Website

Re: Ethical interventon

I remember being a kid on the prairie and dad would have extra hands in to help with the annual 'processing' of the young cattle. ( I do not advocate this method, I was horrified by it, even as a kid)

The young bulls were run into a chute.  They were castrated, dehorned, branded, injected with anitbiotics, their horn stumps cauterized with the branding iron and then squirted for pink eye and when they were let out of the shoot, they would stagger a few steps then faint. Fall right over. Except the Santa Gertrudis, they came out looking for someone to kill! But the whole thing was brutal and extreme. To this day I've seen animals stand stoic and silent through lots of treatments, but branding always made me feel sick to my stomach, the sounds of agony that a cow can make! Burns are so painful!

Makes me glad I just have chickens.

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#5 2010-10-03 12:11:15

LynneP
I Love A.C.E.
From: Nova Scotia
Registered: 2009-08-08
Posts: 3135
Website

Re: Ethical interventon

The thing about birds is that choices of pk's are so limited and vets are so expensive, if you even have access to one.  I mean, if you do and can afford it, you might save a valuable bird that otherwise you had to pts.  I agree about the 'invasiveness'- an infected cyst hurts on its own so you have a decent chance of helping the bird if you have the skills and can maintain aftercare.


Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

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#6 2010-10-03 13:47:30

Stephane
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Eastern Townships
Registered: 2010-01-21
Posts: 622

Re: Ethical interventon

Well, in short, it seems to be more an economical question then and ethical. People do it themselves because they are not willing to pay a vet to do it. Most of the time, like for human, it's not really painfull if done properly. I feel too many people improvise though and then it may do more dammage then good. Don't do it if you don't know what to do. And be carefull, on birds, some local anesthesics like Lidocaine, will pass the "cerebral gate" and put the bird to sleep.
Endorphins are usually not enough to stop the pain, it dulls it but does not stop it.


Stephane Deshaies
Eastern Townships, Quebec

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#7 2010-10-03 14:15:51

AuntieEvil
Moderator
From: New Brunswick
Registered: 2009-03-07
Posts: 2883
Website

Re: Ethical interventon

I'm with Bella Trix on the goat dehorning. Mine have them and don't use them. They are taught not to. My dog still has his teeth, and he doesn't bite me. The cat has her claws and doesn't scratch us. Besides dairy goats tend to be quite gentle in nature. Seemed the problems with debudding were worse than those caused by the horns. Goats don't look the same without horns...
It sucks my son can't enter 4-H with the goats because they have their horns.
As far as castration, at a couple days of age my boys are banded and don't even notice. It is important not to put the elastic too high up and pull the skin too tight. That seems to create problems. If they weren't castrated, then they'd have to be separated earlier from the herd, and that is more traumatic than the castration.
Guess it comes down to personal ethics and weighing which creates the lesser pain. Life is full of pain, we can only reduce it...


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