Pigs Feel Neuropathic Pain Due to Tail Mutilation

A recent study in Nature has proved that tail mutilation causes piglets to suffer from neuropathic pain. Shockingly, until now there’s been almost no research into the effects of this cruel but standard factory farming practice.

After studying the outcomes of tail amputations on 108 pigs, scientists found that the procedure caused both acute and chronic neuropathic pain. This type of pain results from tissue injury by which nerves are damaged or made dysfunctional. Symptoms include hypersensitivity and pain ranging from itching and tingling to stabbing and burning.

The study concludes:
Tail amputation in pigs appears to evoke acute and sustained changes in peripheral mechanical sensitivity, which resemble features of neuropathic pain reported in humans and other species and provides new information on implications for the welfare of animals subjected to this type of injury.
The welfare implications are heightened by an important distinction: In the study, the procedure was conducted under surgical conditions with proper instruments by trained technicians. The pigs received sedatives, anesthesia, postoperative wound care, and medical attention by veterinarians as they recovered in clean, private pens. This is not what happens to pigs raised for meat. At both pork and dairy farms, cruel tail mutilations are conducted without painkillers, and farmers often use dull clippers to cut through sensitive skin, nerves, and bone.

A recent Mercy For Animals undercover investigation revealed horrific conditions and practices at a Hormel supplier, including mutilating piglets without pain relief and leaving sick and injured pigs to suffer without veterinary care.


Sadly, barbaric mutilations are common at factory farms. Chickens have the tips of their beaks sliced off with a hot blade; cows are dehorned by having their horns burned or sawed off; piglets are roughly castrated shortly after birth, and their incisor teeth are painfully ripped out. These cruel acts are all performed without anesthesia. Because of the filthy conditions, they often result in infection.

These mutilations are only part of the problem. Cows, pigs, and chickens raised and killed for food are subjected to a host of cruelties: extreme confinement; constant abuse; and bloody, violent deaths.

Fortunately, you can fight this blatant cruelty by boycotting the meat, dairy, and egg industries and switching to a compassionate vegan diet. Click here to get started.