Calves raised for beef often begin life unconfined, on rangeland where they are free to express their natural behavior. However, the welfare of calves can be compromised by certain specific management practices, typical on many ranching operations. These include castration of male calves, dehorning, and branding, all of which are usually performed without anesthesia or analgesia, pain relief of any kind. Welfare is also a concern during weaning, handling, auction, and transport, common stressful events that occur before calves are moved to feedlots. Techniques to minimize pain and distress should be used or further developed in order to address the customary practices in beef production that reduce the welfare of these young animals.
The Humane Society of the United States, "The Welfare of Calves in the Beef Industry" (2012). IMPACTS ON FARM ANIMALS. 1.