A Sad Tail

A sad thing happened Tuesday. A Colorado bill that would have prohibited the unnecessary amputation of cow tails for the pure convenience of dairy farmers stalled in the House. While it’s over for the bill, at least for this year, it’s not over for the hundreds of cows that will be subjected to this inhumane and cruel practice.

Some dairy farmers claim removing a cow’s tail improves milk quality and reduces possible disease. The tails do collect manure, and thus concerns that a swish of the tail could flick manure onto the udders and get into the milk or cause udder infection. But numerous peer-reviewed studies have found no such evidence. Even major players in the dairy industry admit there is no benefit to removing a cow’s tail, at least as far as the cow’s well being is concerned.

Consumers, understandably, are not keen on the thought of unnecessarily harming the cows, but how does one know if the milk, cheese or other dairy products they buy came from a docked or un-docked dairy farm. They don’t.

When you think about it, dairy cows don’t have it so good. They are continually impregnated so they will lactate, their calves are taken from the mother shortly after birth; causing distress to both mother and child, and when the milk runs dry, it’s off to the slaughter house to become hamburger.

We enslave cows to produce food for us, but rather than being grateful, some dairy farmers lop off the tails, depriving cows of their ability to swat flies, their ability communicate with others in the herd through tail motions, and, as a growing number of studies have shown, cause chronic pain.

Got milk? Next time you reach for the carton think about the suffering that may have gone into filling it.


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