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A NEW elastrator device which injects a pain-relieving local anaesthetic into lambs while applying rubber rings for castration and tail docking is ready for commercialisation.

The development of the elastrator – dubbed “Numnuts” – has been headed by Scotland’s Moredun Research Institute with funding from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and Australian Wool Innovation.

Matthew McDonagh, MLA’s general manager of on farm innovation and adoption, said he expected the device would generate significant animal welfare and production benefits.

He said interest had been high among potential commercial partners who were being sought to take the device to market in Australia and overseas.

Research had shown treated animals suffered significantly less pain which he expected would also produce economic benefits such as increased weight gain up until weaning and less mismothering at lamb marking time.

The availability of a single pain-relief tool for tail docking and castration would also help livestock producers get on the front foot in defending both practices from increasing scrutiny among animal rights activists, Mr McDonagh said.

The anaesthetic acted about 30 to 60 seconds after injection and didn’t wear off until the tissue around the testes and tail were dead, eliminating residual pain.

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