Not All Farmers Agree with the Tail Docking Ban

December 15, 2015 10:26 AM

This fall National Milk Producers Federation decided to accelerate the timeline for a ban on tail docking for all producers involved in their FARM program. To say some producers were upset is an understatement. NMPF president and CEO Jim Mulhern took some heat at the group’s annual meeting in Orlando because of the decision. A new poll by Dairy Today shows a majority of dairy farmers don’t agree with a nationwide mandated ban on tail docking.

[In case you missed it, here’s some background on the issue.]

According to the poll results, of the 344 farmers who voted 68.6% of them want to continue docking tails on their farms; 38.6% of those folks say the traditional practice is important for the cleanliness of their cows.

However, in 2012 the Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of Bovine Practitioners concluded there was not sound science to support tail docking and recommended against it. So there’s that.

The ban was put in place because consumers have determined the practice to be inhumane and milk buyers have asked that it end according to Mulhern.

“Many are establishing their own policies as companies to require their milk supply to come from farms that don’t use this practice,” he says.

Which is a reason that left 30% of farmers saying ‘not stopping’ because they think it opens the door for consumers to dictate other areas of animal husbandry. Only 20 of the farmers polled think they should change their practices because milk buyers request it.  

Tail docking isn’t as common in the Western U.S. 25.6% of the producers polled say they don’t mind the ban because they quit docking tails years ago.

Want your opinion to matter? Submit your comments to NMPF by Jan. 6.


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Spell Check

Daci Farm
Wyandotte, OK
12/18/2015 10:08 AM

  No longer dairy but tail docking leads to cleaner cows which leads to cleaner milk 39D4CD

Montezuma, GA
12/17/2015 06:52 AM

  According to the story "the ban was put in place because consumers have determined the practice to be inhumane " Instead of asking consumers who know nothing of dairy farms and how they operate if we should be docking tails ,explain to them the benefits , why we do it ,and how it can be done humanely. I could accept the NMPF putting out guidelines on acceptable ways to dock tails but a so called ban isn't acceptable. According to the poll nearly 70% of farmers are against the ban.I suggest NMPF represent the farmers.

Bob Bennett
Prescott , MI
12/19/2015 09:55 PM

  NMPF says it represents 32,000 milk producers. You wouldn't know it when you look at the revisions of the animal care manual. Showing all deletions, additions and changes are the basic tool so that reviewer's can quickly see what's new. There are none, because they don't want us to know, and they don't want us to know that there is a comment period that ends January 6, 2016. Email NMPF and your coop and tell them to highlight new language and extend it for another 30 days so we have time to read and comment. There is a reason the comment period has been "hush hush", it's full of regulations and potentially more regulations. Feels like NMPF represents animal activist , not its members. It would be nice if the time and money was spent being proactive. Get a bus and take the people that by dairy products for companies on a tour to a farm that docks tails, the right way, and feed them too.


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