When a practical pain relief method came onto the market for Australian beef producers, Annabelle Coppin was keen to try it.
Annabelle trialed the new pain relief spray on the family’s Yarrie Station in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Annabelle owns and manages the property, which has been in the Coppin family for five generations. She and her team run cattle over two properties (one on the Pilbara and one in the mid-west of WA) that span 250,000 hectares (617,700) acres. Last year, Annabelle used an anaesthetic spray when she and her team castrated calves.
“We’d been waiting a long time for a pain relief product that was efficient to use and that works,” Annabelle said.
She said previously the only pain relief option was getting a veterinarian to come out and inject the cattle, which is not possible, especially for a remote station such as Yarrie.
Annabelle found the numbing spray was promising (not yet proven). She said it was easy to spray on, although it was difficult to measure. She plans to use it again this year and keep observing the benefits. She supports Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), the producer-owned company that provides marketing and research and development services for the red meat and livestock industry, in doing more trials into pain relief options.
“A practical, effective and efficient pain relief for our husbandry practices is not only vital for the future of our industry, should lift our production, decrease mortality and make this practice easier to carry out,” Annabelle said.
“We need to be proactive in the industry,” she said, adding meeting consumers’ expectations (including about animal welfare) was paramount for the beef industry’s sustainability.
The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework’s Consultative Committee chose animal husbandry techniques as a priority area for focus, and one of its indicators is the percentage of the Australian cattle herd using pain relief regularly for husbandry practices.
“And the pain relief needs to work for producers, so it’s not only a feel-good story.”
Using pain relief is not the only animal welfare measure that the Coppin family and their employees undertake. Other measures include Annabelle running a week-long course to teach their staff to best handle young cattle when they are first brought into the years. She said the course, which was developed with a livestock consultant Boyd Holden, helps handlers develop a positive relationship with the young cattle, which makes future handling easier and safer throughout their lives on the station and beyond.
“Quiet cattle are less stressed in any situation, whether it be on property, on trucks, in a feedlot, abattoir or on a ship,” Annabelle said.
The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework was developed through extensive stakeholder engagement to define sustainable beef production and provide transparent measures and information on areas of stakeholder interest. As well as providing information relevant to customers, consumers and investors to the industry the framework is also used as a tool to direct industry investment in research and adoption.
Tri-Solfen® is a local anaesthetic and antiseptic gel spray that adheres well to wounds and acts as a barrier to environmental stimuli, promotes haemostasis and improves wound healing. Tri-Solfen® contains two proven topical local anaesthetics; fast-acting Lignocaine for immediate pain relief and long-acting Bupivacaine for prolonged post-operative pain relief. Adrenaline is included for its ability to reduce the shock and stress of blood loss, whilst prolonging the anaesthetic action. Tri-Solfen® also contains Cetrimide; an antiseptic widely used to cleanse skin and wounds and provides protection from bacterial contamination.