Chopping Off Cow Tails (‘Tail Docking’) Should be Banned

Target: U.S.D.A. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

Goal: To put an end to the cruel practice of amputating portions of the tails of dairy cattle.

Tail docking in cattle is a procedure by which up to two-thirds of the cow’s tail is amputated. The amputation may be accomplished by cutting the tail with a sharp implement or by using a tight rubber ring to restrict blood flow to the tail until it withers and falls off. These procedures are commonly done without anesthesia and, in addition to the initial pain of tail loss, can cause lifelong suffering for cattle.

Proponents of tail docking claim that the amputation provides several benefits to both the cow and workers who might make frequent contact with the animals’ soiled tails. They believe that the cow stays cleaner and maintain better utter health from the docking of the tail and some have claimed that cows with docked tails produce better quality milk. Sadly, these claims come from on-farm observation and have little or no scientific research backing them.

Based on scientific research cows with docked tails demonstrate clear signs of distress and pain as a result of the procedure. They lose their fly avoidance capabilities resulting in more frequent pain and irritation from biting flies gathering on their hind quarters and the open sores resulting from the bites. Signs of distress observed in tail docked cattle include frequent standing, side to side head motions, and constant foot tapping. Tail docking can result in the formation of abnormal growths of nerve fibers at the stump which can lead to chronic pain. Lambs, chickens, and more recently calves with docked tails have been known to suffer from swelling, infection and the onset of diseases including tetanus and gangrene.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Humane Society of the United States all publicly oppose the practice considering it a cruel and unnecessary mutilation. Researchers at the University of Colorado and the University of Wisconsin and experts within the cattle producing and veterinary communities have stated that tail docking is of no benefit to dairy cattle and that the pain and distress caused by the practice is simply not reasonable. The is no evidence that tail docking improves the cleanliness or utter health of cattle and the periodic trimming of the longer hairs at the end of the tail is an effective and humane way to improve sanitary conditions for both cattle and farm workers.

The practice of tail docking dairy cattle is currently outlawed in several European countries including Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.K. and very recently in the state of California. Please ask the U.S.D.A. to propose legislation that would ban this type of animal cruelty in all U.S. states.


Dear Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), of the United States Department of Agriculture,

The routine practice of tail docking dairy cattle in the U.S. needs to come to end. The University of Colorado, the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program, the University of Wisconsin, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Milk and Dairy Beef Quality Assurance Center have all either discouraged this practice or have questioned its ability to improve sanitary and health conditions on dairy farms.

There is no scientific data present to indicate any value to be gained from the painful removal of a large portion of the tail of a dairy cow but there is sufficient data available to demonstrate the physical and psychological distress that cows suffer as a result of the procedure.

This practice has been banned in several European countries with no observable detriment to the dairy industry within those nations and in California, banning tail docking in dairy cattle has provided a successful model that may be replicated in other states.

We ask that you please consider supporting legislation that would ban tail docking for all U.S. dairy cattle.


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  1. I grew up on a farm and I never saw this happening. These people who give themselves excuses to this is down right STUPID and are blind to how cruel this is to these animals. Wow this world is going crazy..No respect for life.


  3. Horrible. How can that be allowed??? It should be stopped immediately.

  4. If we would all stop eating meat, of all kinds, they would stop factory farming. I can’t stand to think of the pain, fear, & dread these innocent creatures have to endure. Please try to help these & all animals by not eating or wearing animal products or attending circuses, rodeos or zoos, & other similiar places because they exploit & abuse animals. We have to stop what’s been “normal” for so long!!!

  5. kayann white says:

    I don’t even believe in docking dogs tails.

  6. God created cows together with tails – who are you to suggest that they are unhealthy and should be removed for the benefit of the cows? You are making it up as you go along and you are WRONG.

  7. Kathleen Michaels says:

    90% of the human species so to speak is nothing but ignorant cruel trash. This said, remember kids I said 90%. I eat nothing factory farmed, with eyes or a mother. Old fashion farming is ok, but I still won’t eat it, just because I wouldn’t eat my cat Wolf. Asked how that can be allowed, we allow it. What we eat is a vote to the slaughter house or businesses. We don’t call or email the senators, reps, or yes the Pres to change the laws and enforce them. That’s some of why it is.

  8. this is barbaric and cruel, cattle have tails for a reason and stupid humans dont have the right to mutilate them.

  9. they need their tails, this is so so cruel. poor things x

  10. Amputation doesn’t serve the industry.

  11. We are fellow passengers on the same planet, and we are all equally responsible for the happiness and the well-being of the world in which we happen to live,
    i cant beleive the abuse that takes place,iam sickened and ashamed to be part of the same species-human…when it comes to animals the usa is a third world country

  12. valda purvis says:

    These poor animals have enough to bear they have their babies taken from them and -killed if a male ,they are kept in constant pregnancy to keep up the milk quality,their use by date isn’t very long ,so -please leave their tails alone they need it to swish away the flies ,give them a little comfort .their lives are miserable enough.

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