Back in March, we posted about a bill presented to the California legislature that would ban the painful, unnecessary practice of tail docking dairy cows. The bill, SB 135, prohibits tail docking in cattle (medical/emergency reasons excluded) ending a practice that no veterinary medical association approves and even the American Association of Bovine Practitioners opposes.
The bill passed through the Assembly with a 72% majority and through the Senate with a 52% majority. Now it needs to be signed into law by the Governor. Please ask the Governor to sign SB 135 using the form email or call (916)-445-2841 today.
Background information on tail docking dairy cows:
What it is: The amputation of up to 2/3 of a dairy cow's tail.
When it is performed: At 21-months-old, prior to their first calf, or after weaning when they are 6-8 weeks old.
How it is done: The common practice is to use a rubber ring. This reduces the oxygen supply, causing atrophy and the tail to fall off within a week. On calves, a hot cauterizing knife is used to remove the tail.
Why it is performed: Supporters claim it reduces the risk of mastitis and increases udder cleanliness. It improves worker convenience in certain milking parlors where the worker must milk the cow from behind. A University of British Columbia study showed no difference in udder cleanliness between docked and undocked cows. Literature reviews show an increased fly count on rear legs of docked cows versus undocked cows and no reduction in the somatic cell count in milk from docked cows, showing no improved milk quality. According to Dairy Care Practices: Animal Care Series, Dairy Workgroup at UC Davis, "No data have been published to support the claims of improved milker comfort and health or better udder hygiene and milk quality (e.g. lower somatic cell counts) in cows with docked tails. "
How common the practice is: Between 50.5 - 80% of dairy farmers tail dock some of their dairy cows. Approximately 15% of dairy farmers tail dock their entire herds.
Sadie is in the middle. You can see she has very little of her tail left after it was docked on a dairy farm. Cattle tails, like Nicholas' (left) and Howie's (right) are long and incredibly vital for fly protection.