January 6, 2014
HSUS to Wisconsin Farm Bureau: Join Us to End to Dairy Cow Tail-Docking
Wisconsin Dairy Industry Should be Proactive on Animal Welfare
The Wisconsin Farm Bureau should help the state’s dairy industry be proactive on animal welfare problems, according to The Humane Society of the United States. Eliminating the routine and inhumane amputation of cows’ tails would be the best place to start.
Several states, including California—the nation’s biggest dairy state—have already banned this inhumane and unnecessary practice.
In a letter sent today to WFB president James Holte, HSUS vice president of farm animal protection, Paul Shapiro, notes: “Having the second biggest dairy state join the shift away from tail-docking could be a helpful way to demonstrate that the industry takes animal welfare seriously and wants to be proactive on these important matters. It would also be a great way to demonstrate the commitment to science-based decision-making that the industry touts.”
Scientific studies have shown that tail-docking of dairy cows is a serious animal welfare problem, causing distress, pain, and increased fly attacks. Moreover, the studies show that routine tail-docking does not benefit either cows or farmers. The practice is opposed by both the National Milk Producers Federation and the American Veterinary Medical Association, yet many dairy producers in Wisconsin, including the subject of the latest cruelty exposé, still routinely cut their cows’ tails off.
University of Wisconsin Agriculture & Extension Service Center’s research states, “Contrary to popular opinion, there does not appear to be any influence of tail docking on cleanliness of udders or legs, nor does there appear to be a relationship between tail docking and milk quality.”
The call for the dairy industry to be more proactive in addressing animal welfare issues comes on the heels of an undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals in Wisconsin exposing cruelty to dairy cows.
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