Stop Dehorning Calves and Cows Without Anesthetic

Target: Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

Goal: Require dairy farmers to apply anesthetic when dehorning cows and calves

Dairy cows are rarely seen with full-grown horns, but no cattle, male or female, naturally grows up without them. Rather than allow their horns to develop naturally, an overwhelming majority of dairy farmers violently remove horn tissue from their cattle, often when they are only a few weeks old. More than nine out of ten dairy farmers in America dehorn their calves, either burning off horn tissue with abrasive chemicals or hot irons, or hacking away at developing horns with sharp blades and hand saws. And due to a lack of regulation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers are not legally required to administer painkillers during the process.

Farmers claim that dehorning is necessary to minimize the risk of injury for cows kept in close proximity to one another. While cows with fully developed horns may present a threat to farm workers and other animals, dehorning without the use of anesthetic is an unnecessarily cruel practice that must be stopped. Young calves struggle and bellow as workers forcefully burn or cut off their horn buds. Without painkillers, the process of dehorning is akin to torture–yet it remains entirely unregulated throughout the United States.

Other countries such as Australia, Denmark, and Sweden mandate that all farmers must use anesthetic while removing horns from their cows. It’s time that the U.S. Department of Agriculture imposed regulation on the process of dehorning to save cows from excruciating and unnecessary pain. Stand up for the right of cattle to live free from torture by signing the petition below today.


Dear Mr. Vilsack,

Dehorning may be a standard procedure on dairy farms, but allowing farmers to remove the budding horns of young calves without anesthetic ought to be considered an illegal form of torture. Calves as young as a few weeks old are held down by farm workers as their horns are sawed off or burned with hot irons. Farmers are not legally required to administer anesthetic for the procedure, causing calves and cows to suffer unduly.

This barbaric practice has no place in the dairy farms of America. Countries such as Australia, Denmark, and Sweden have already made it a crime to dehorn cattle without the use of anesthetic. I demand that you join them in outlawing this cruel and inhumane form of animal torture. Impose regulation on dairy farm dehorning and ensure that all cattle who must have their horns remove are at least given the dignity of avoiding excruciating pain.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: John O’Neill via Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. They really pamper us humans before, during and after surgery. What makes us so special for such preferred treatment?

  2. Daniela Bress says:


    Half of the producted meat ends up in the dustbins and on the streets (for example in MacDonald’s bags thrown through a car window) of our “civilized” human society, fields are too acidic by factory farming, for animals to survive this cruel kind of farming until they reach their slaughtering age too much antibiotics are necessary and this fact leads to higher mortality rates in cases of bacterial infections of human beings, for the food of man bred cattles that end in global dumpsters more than in toilets are producing more climate killing gas than some small town, …

    The whole imbecilic factory farming is nothing else but suicide on an installment plan !

    Just produce as much meat and milk as really needed, let the animals have a real humanely life before having to die in the name of human nutrition and :


  3. Morning All. I think it is meen of them too do this bad thing outing there heads so they won’t breath! What if we have you put your head in there try it some day & get the wrong end from you ?

  4. Hey dehorners—next time you need surgery, tell the doctor you don’t need anesthetic. No? Didn’t think so. Do as the bible says and “do unto others” — ALL others, not just human ones.

  5. Inhumane and CRUEL!

  6. Sono stanca di vivere.
    Vorrei morire per Loro e con Loro.

  7. Cheryl Murray says:

    why do they have to dehorn them anyhow? LEAVE THEM AS GOD CREATED THEM!!!!! The world is demanding more and more cruely for their convenience at the price of innocent animals!

  8. oh yes i would never say i was oblivious of the ruthlessness imposed on muted creatures like this. better end this horrendouz n heinous crime/blunder comitted on animals…gonna sign up da petition NOW

  9. It has been illegal not to use anesthetic when disbudding or dehorning in the UK, since 1954 approx.

    We dehorn, I dehorn, for the safety of the cattle, and those of us working with them; cattle will use their horns against other cattle, and handlers.

    I hate dehorning – that is to say cutting off more mature horns, due to the animals not being disbudded at a much earlier age.

    Disbudding with a hot iron, and using anesthetic, when calves are around two weeks old, does not cause them a lot of distress, it certainly need not, if they are handled properly, and often young calves in groups, will, just moments after being disbudded themselves, come over and suck our clothes, or hands, as we are trying to disbud the next calf, they do not fear us, because we care for them.

    Cows know when they have horns, and will bully other cows with them, especially when in confined spaces, and when feeding; a woman almost had her jaw torn off by a cow with horns, as she fed them, the horn went up through her bottom jaw, braking her bottom jaw on both sides, and nearly detaching it. Cattle are dehorned for safety reasons only, the safety of other cattle, and those people who work with them.

    Some cattle do naturally have no horns, they are called ‘polled cattle,’ look it up, there are a few breeds that do not grow horns, and no, they are not GM.

    I understand in America, you also castrate cattle without using any anesthetic, at an age around a year old, which is also very cruel in my opinion.

    Of course animals should be treated with respect, and anesthetics should be used, as I use them, along with a great many others.

    “Even the kindest thing a foolish man will do for an animal will be cruel.” – Scripture.

    I agree with your protest, but you must get your facts right, or else people will pull your argument to pieces.

    God bless America – why would He? He shows no partiality; may God help us all.

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