There are three methods to castrate beef cattle: physically, hormonally, and chemically. Castration of beef cattle requires that certain regulations are strictly enforced and exercised, some of which are for the overall health and safety of the beef cattle. Each country has a set of regulations in which most of the content is similar amongst the countries, but each country may/does have slight modifications for various reasons
In some countries for instance, application of anesthesia is required before performing the operation. This is because pain mitigation is essential to successful castration. There are several medical factors such as age and weight which must be considered when determining the best method to keep the pain levels under control. For instance, it is best to castrate a beef cattle at a very young age (one to three months) because they are easier to keep under control, and experience less pain and stress. However, they may be castrated up to potentially twelve months old. Post operation care varies depending on the castration methodology and set of regulations that must be abided. It is up to the Vet to determine what is required to maintain successful post-operative care. Anti-biotics are a post-operative option if the animal has swelling, an infection or a raise in body temperature.
In Canada, effective, January 1, 2018, the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) has made the use of pain control a requirement when castrating bulls older than six months. The document also states to castrate calves as young as practically possible. This includes professional advice from a veterinarian in regards to the method of procedure, timing, and pain control of the beef cattle. Section 444 (1) (a) of the Canadian Criminal Code states that it is an offence to one who willfully: kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures cattle. Section 445.1 (1) (a) states that everyone who willfully causes, or being the owner, willfully permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal is offending the criminal code of Canada. The PCA Act (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act) is a provincial level system that outlines the regulations of animal care. In British Columbia, the BC SPCA exists within the PCA Act. The BC SPCA therefore has the authority to handle all matters regarding animal welfare and cruelty.