News & Media

Keep horns trimmed to prevent injury

Released on

Released on:
Wednesday, 12. July 2017 - 10:00

Livestock producers are reminded to keep the horns of cattle and sheep trimmed, particularly in animals where there is a risk of the horn becoming ingrown.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development principal compliance inspector Charlotte McIntyre said trimming the ends of horns was a straight-forward procedure and would help ensure the horn did not penetrate the skin, resulting in a painful injury.

Ms McIntyre said there had been an increased prevalence of ingrown horns identified during inspections at saleyards and abattoirs over the past few months.

“Affected animals can suffer pain from the horn growing through the skin, which if left untreated, could eventually penetrate the animal’s skull,” Ms McIntyre said

“Transporting an animal in this condition could cause further suffering.”

Ms McIntyre said horn trimming should be undertaken with care, following the relevant Codes of Practice.

The Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Cattle and the Code of Practice for Sheep in Western Australia: Sheep advise that inward growing horns should be trimmed to avoid injury to the animal, and without cutting into sensitive horn tissue. 

Failing to trim the horn is a possible offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 and carries significant penalties.

Ms McIntyre said transporters also had a responsibility to ensure that animals they received were fit for transport.

“Any animals that are presented with an ingrown horn should not be transported until they have had the horn trimmed and have recovered from any injuries,” she said.

“If the horn has penetrated the skull, it should be trimmed in accordance with the advice of a veterinarian, or the animal should be humanely euthanised.

“Ultimately, if there is any doubt, animals should not be accepted for transport.”

Livestock producers are reminded to keep the horns of cattle trimmed, particularly in animals where there is a risk of the horn becoming ingrown. Photo courtesy of Dr D. Clive Dalton
Livestock producers are reminded to keep the horns of cattle trimmed, particularly in animals where there is a risk of the horn becoming ingrown. Photo courtesy of Dr D. Clive Dalton

Media contacts: Lisa Bertram/Jodie Thomson, media liaison  +61 (0)8 9368 3937