Please note: This NCCAW committee has been disbanded and replaced by the AAWAC.
NCCAW Revised Position Statement
NCCAW recognises that long term contraception of cattle can benefit the welfare and production of animals where females cannot be segregated from males, and in other special circumstances.
In extensive pastoral conditions, contraception enables cull females to survive and achieve marketable body condition by preventing the stress of mismanaged pregnancy, calving and lactation.
The Willis Spay technique, introduced into northern Australia in 1997 has proven itself as the spay technique of choice. The technique requires a high level of skill and training because it is a per-vaginal technique that relies on per-rectal palpation skills.
The ovaries are sectioned from their attachments and allowed to drop free within the body cavity. This procedure can cause significant haemorrhage and therefore good animal husbandry is important.
The Willis Spay technique is a superior technique of surgical spaying because:
- the animal experiences less stress
- there are few mortalities
- convalescence is shortened
- there is no damage to hide or carcase.
- The NCCAW recognises that surgical spaying of cattle is an established and valuable husbandry procedure in northern Australia and will continue as the only practical method of contraception until new technology proves itself.
- The NCCAW strongly supports research into non-invasive means of controlling oestrus and conception and supports research into improved systems of animal management.
- The Willis Spay technique should be performed by appropriately trained and accredited veterinarians and lay operators, as state and territory legislation permits.
- The NCCAW supports the development of Willis Spay training and accreditation schemes.
- Where spay techniques other than the Willis Spay technique are to be used, the NCCAW recommends that they are carried out by a qualified veterinarian or trained person using appropriate analgesia.
Best Practice Recommendations for Spaying
- Animals should not be unnecessarily stressed before, during or after spaying.
- It is not necessary to have a water curfew prior to spaying. A 12-hour feed curfew reduces rumen fill and assists with the performance of the operation.
- Concurrent spaying and dehorning is not recommended. Animals that have been recently dehorned, carry heavy cattle tick burdens, or are weak or emaciated should be allowed to recover before spaying.
- Effective restraint in a cattle crush must be used for the safety of the animal and the operator.
- Spaying must not be performed under extreme environmental conditions of heat, cold or rain.
- Hygienic technique must be employed.
- Spayed cattle should be allowed to settle onto feed and water in the yards for several hours after spaying, before returning to a paddock.
- During the first few days of convalescence, spayed cattle should be monitored and not be mustered for long distances. After two weeks they are considered sufficiently recovered for sale and long distance transport.
This Position Statement was first published in October 1999 and was reviewed by NCCAW on 20 February 2008. NCCAW made the decision to retain it without amendment.
16 Jan 2012