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Book Chapter

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The pain and distress which animals experience as a consequence of their use by man figures prominently in discussions of animal welfare. Some improvements have been made in animal housing and husbandry practices and it is likely that further progress will be made in this field. In comparison, relatively little attention has been given to the problem of minimizing the pain and distress caused to animals by the various procedures to which they are subjected. The most publicized of these are the wide range of experimental techniques which are undertaken using laboratory animals, but also includes procedures such as castration of farm animals and neutering operations carried out on pet animals. The prevention or alleviation of the pain associated with such procedures is a complex problem with no single, simple solution. Consideration must be given to the use of analgesic drugs, the provision of high standards of general care, and the use of special nursing techniques. When dealing with post-operative care, the pre-operative management ofthe animal, the operative procedures and the anesthetic regime must all be evaluated and, when necessary, modified to minimize pain or discomfort.