SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Castration and Shortening of the Scrotum

SPCA opposes the castration of any farmed animal who is destined to be killed before reaching the age of sexual maturity.

Castration is a routine surgery performed to prevent unwanted offspring and possible health or behavioural issues, and is often used to ensure that meat can be eaten from particular animals. However, it is also a painful and stressful procedure with the risk of complications, pain or distress if not performed appropriately or if sufficient pain relief is not provided. Castration must only be performed where there is a clearly established and unavoidable need. Our organisation advocates that, where possible, husbandry techniques, such as slaughtering males before they reach puberty or keeping male and females separate after weaning, should be used to resolve the issues that lead to routine castration. SPCA supports the research and development of husbandry and management practices which eliminate the need for routine castration.

SPCA advocates that where the castration of farmed animals does take place, then the most humane method available, based on current research and recommendations, must be used.

Our organisation advocates that surgical castration should only be performed by a veterinarian or a veterinary student under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. SPCA advocates that non-surgical castration should be classified as a “controlled” surgical procedure, meaning that it can be performed by the animal’s owner or employee of the owner as long as they have veterinary approval to perform that procedure on that species of animal. In both cases of surgical and non-surgical castration, adequate and appropriate medical care must be provided prior to, during and after the operation and include anaesthesia and analgesia. SPCA opposes the use of standard castration rings without the use of analgesia. Our organisation advocates the use of the application of slow release pain-relief infused bands.

SPCA advocates that castration and shortening of the scrotum should be performed as early as possible, but not before the animals are 24 hours old.

Our organisation advocates that castration and shortening of the scrotum should be carried out before an age at which this technique is likely to result in complications, such as inadequate haemostasis. The appropriate age will vary by species and the method of castration.

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