Cows Need Tails

FAQs

Why do some dairy producers cut or crush their cows’ tails off?

The practice is based on old superstitions about milk cleanliness and working conditions. But science disproves these myths. As the national industry magazine Hoard’s Dairyman explains, “When it comes to tail docking, it doesn’t really benefit the cow, employee health or product quality.”

How is tail-cutting performed?

Some operators crush the tail with tight bands to deprive it of blood supply, causing the tail to become necrotic and fall off. Others cut the tail off with the equivalent of garden shears. A cow’s tail is just like a dog or cat’s—full of nerve endings—and both techniques cause substantial pain.

What are the animal welfare effects?

Each cow experiences immediate and long-term pain from the mutilation. She’s also rendered permanently unable to use her tail to swat biting insects and communicate with her herd. (In addition to vocalizations, tail movements are a primary means for cows to signal to each other.) Tail cutting has no benefits to the cow’s welfare.

Why do we need laws if dairy industry trade groups are already against it?

Many dairy producers still practice this cruel mutilation despite opposition from industry groups and leading experts. The only way to finally stop this inhumane practice is to make it illegal.

Do any industry or veterinary organizations support tail cutting?

No.

How widespread is this problem?

According to the most recent national research, 82.3% of dairies surveyed practiced tail cutting.

How can I help?

Text TAILS to 30644 to receive text alerts on how you can make a critical difference for cows and other animals in your state. Message and data rates may apply. And if you live in Vermont, also be sure to check out the locally run website CowsNeedTheirTails.com.