Well, folks, we’ve got our next “Prop 2” on our hands – a new bill in the California legislature to ban tail docking of dairy cows. Let’s start an open and respectful dialogue – what do you think of this bill?
Officials of the Humane Society of the United States are supporting the legislation, calling it “painful and unnecessary mutilation”.
The bill was introduced by California Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez. At a news conference on Friday, Florez said tail docking is, in his words, “nothing more than needless animal cruelty which must be stopped”.
At the same news conference, HSUS president Wayne Pacelle cited last fall’s passage of Proposition 2 as evidence that Californians want, quote, “humane treatment of all animals, including those raised for food”—end quote.
Tail docking involves the removal of up to two-thirds of a cow’s tail. According to a University of California-Davis report, producers in the U.S. frequently dock heifers near weaning or approximately one-month prior calving. The report says the most common docking method is rubber band constriction.
A variety of benefits have been attributed to tail docking including improved comfort for milking personnel, enhanced udder cleanliness and improved milk quality. However, the American Veterinary Medical Association—AVMA—has concluded that routine tail docking, quote “provides no benefit to the animal…and can lead to distress during fly seasons”. AVMA policy opposes the routine tail docking of cattle.