On July 23, the National Milk Producers Federation Board of Directors approved a resolution opposing tail docking of dairy cows in their industry guidelines, recommending the practice be phased out by 2022. Tail docking is the commonly performed procedure of partially amputating an animal's tail. Tail docking of cattle is already outlawed in both California and Rhode Island, is being phased out for dairy cows in Ohio, and is opposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. Although none of the reasons given for tail docking dairy cattle have been proven in any scientific literature, it is still widely practiced within the industry. Besides potentially causing both short-term and chronic pain and discomfort, tail docking can cause significant stress to cattle during the fly season, as such animals cannot use their tails to prevent flies from landing on and biting them. While AWI appreciates the dairy industry’s resolution to phase out tail docking, 10 years is simply too long for cattle to continue enduring this unnecessary and inhumane procedure.
AWI Quarterly Issue