Tail docking ban moves a little closer to reality in Colorado

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Colorado made national news last week after a proposed bill in a state House committee banning cow tail docking ignited an intense debate. After briefly delaying a vote, the bill is moving out of committee.

According to an Associated Press report available here, the Health, Insurance and Environment Committee voted on Thursday to pass the bill to the full House.

It passed on a 6 to 5 vote.

If enacted into law, House Bill 1231 would ban farmers from docking cow tails except when performed by a veterinarian using anesthesia.

Some dairymen believe that their cows stay cleaner when the tails are docked. But consumers don't understand "why you would mess with nature." And, tails are a way for cows to swat flies. 

The Sterling, Colo., Journal-Advocate reports that Norm Dinis, owner of Empire Dairy in Wiggins, Colo., was one of the dairy farmers who testified at the committee’s hearing. After intense questioning from committee representatives, Dinis testified that he and the dairy industry are partially to blame for not being more active on the issue.  

"People in this industry have caved [to animal rights groups' pressure] in hopes that these groups would go away and leave us alone. These groups are hell-bent on regulating our industry. They don't trust us. We've done a poor job" of educating consumers on this issue, Dinis said.

Read more here.

Just a handful of Colorado dairies use tail docking, and  because so few would be affected by the bill, some – including Republican Representative Amy Stephens – looks at the bill as bullying.

The National Milk Producers Federation has recommended that dairies phase it out over the next nine years. Other states to make tail docking illegal include California, Rhode Island and New Jersey. Ohio has announced it will stop the practice in 2018.

Read, "Colorado Legislature Considering Cow Tail Cutting Ban, Upsets Some Farmers"

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WI  |  March, 18, 2013 at 09:39 AM

I only dock the tails of animals that make a mess on themselves and me. If and when this bill ever comes up in WI I will personally go to the Capitol and slap the legislators proposing a ban with a wet sloppy manure laden taill with my right hand and a dry crusty on with my left

October, 31, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Would the implementation of some sort of barrier (perhaps made of plastic) to prevent the widespread mess of cow droppings make this bill more palatable?

north east  |  March, 20, 2013 at 12:34 PM

This is what I do also dfarmer. There are those cows that seem to take great pleasure in covering themselves the walls, ceiling and everything else including me in manure, Not to mention the ones that will hit you with their sloppy tail as they kick you.

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