Concerned about cruelty on New York State’s dairy farms, Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal has introduced a bill that would outlaw the forced removal of a cow’s tail, a practice known as “docking.”
“I am committed to creating more humane conditions on our farms,” Rosenthal said in a statement. “New York is the third largest dairy producer in the country and we have the ability to set industry trends nationwide. When we declare that tail docking is an unacceptably cruel practice, we make considerable progress toward prohibiting it everywhere.”
Rosenthal, who sits on the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee, introduced her bill in response to a Jan. 26 episode of ABC’s Nightline program that featured undercover video taken of milk cows being docked on an upstate New York dairy farm.
The practice is most often done by cauterization or by tying a rubber band around the tail to cause atrophy. While tail docking was once believed to provide epidemiological benefits and reduce infections, animal rights advocates say that the practice is cruel, and in fact leads to higher rates of infection, due to the inability of tail-docked animals to swat away flies and maggots. The American Association of Bovine Practitioners stated in 2005 that there was no scientific evidence to support the procedure.
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