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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Physiological and Behavioural Assessment of Pain in Ruminants: Principles and Caveats


David J. Mellor and Kevin J. Stafford

Pain elicits a range of physiological and behavioural responses. These are commonly used to assess the impact of pain-inducing stimuli on animals, to determine whether or not significant pain is experienced and to devise strategies for alleviating pain. This paper outlines a range of principles and caveats to guide the evaluation of physiological and behavioural responses to painful stimuli, so that they can be better used to minimise pain in the experimental context. Although this advice is based on studies of farm animals responding to painful husbandry practices, it is more generally applicable.