Last February, a bill that would ban the practice of tail docking dairy cows, S.B. 135, was introduced in California by Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez. The bill has since passed through both the state Senate and the California Assembly with bipartisan support.
However, the bill still needs to be signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, whose record on animal welfare is shady at best with his previous proposals to shorten shelter stays, ignore puppy mills and tax veterinary care.
Tail docking is performed to (supposedly) prevent the spread of leptospirosis to dairy workers, along with promoting udder health of cows. Various procedures to remove the tail are performed with no painkillers, and typically involve severing the tail off, or using a band to cut off circulation, causing the tail to fall off on its own.
However, the process of removing up to two-thirds of the tail is considered cruel, inhumane and unnecessary by many and has been banned in several European countries.
Scientific findings have also concluded that there is no benefit to cows having their tails docked in regards to the health of cows or people and that docking also causes additional stress for cows during fly season. Neuromas, or growths of nerve tissue, may also appear, which indicate tail docking can cause chronic pain, according to the AVMA.
The bill to end tail docking is also supported by Humane Society of the United States, the California Veterinary Medical Association, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the California Farm Bureau and the California Cattlemen’s Association.
Despite having no arguments, Schwarzenegger has openly mocked this bill on his twitter page, along with making a video to prove his point, with the stance that no one should be bothering with cow tails when the economy is suffering.
I bet that the 1.8 million dairy cows in California would beg to differ with the governator. It also seems completely inappropriate for someone in his position to blatantly ridicule the suffering of animals and the work of animal welfare supporters. Especially considering that the bill would end an inhumane practice, while having no fiscal impact on the state whatsoever.
If signed into law, California would be the first state to ban tail docking in dairy cattle.
Correction: You can contact the Governor’s office to urge him to sign the bill at http://gov.ca.gov/interact or by calling 916-445-2841.