Farm Sanctuary Backs Illinois Bill to Ban Bovine Tail Docking

From the Farm Sanctuary

Farm Sanctuary Backs Illinois Bill to Ban Bovine Tail Docking

Organization’s president calls painful animal management procedure “pointless mutilation”

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – March 9, 2009 – Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, is urging passage of legislation in Illinois to ban the inhumane agricultural practice of tail docking cows on the state’s dairy farms. The farm animal advocacy organization is working with Senator Antonio Munoz, who recently introduced the bill (SB 1336) in the Illinois legislature and has recommended that the bill be assigned to a study sub-committee.

Tail docking involves amputating most of a cow’s tail, usually by applying a tight rubber ring around the appendage, which cuts off blood circulation until the tissue becomes necrotic. The tail then falls off one to four weeks later, or farmers may cut it off with heated shears. Despite the painful nature of tail docking, it is usually performed without analgesics.

“Tail docking is a pointless mutilation that causes animals both acute and lingering pain, especially when the wound gets infected,” noted Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur. “Science has disproven the myth that amputating most of a cow’s tail somehow improves hygiene or food safety, so it’s time for the dairy industry to stop disfiguring animals out of habit and convenience. Illinois can help lead the way by passing SB 1336.”

Dairy producers started cutting cows’ tails off several years ago because they believed it would prevent urine and feces stuck to the cows’ tails from getting on their udders and into milk, supposedly improving food safety and helping to prevent udder infections. However, peer-reviewed research from both governmental and academic sources indicates there are no health or safety benefits associated with tail docking. In fact, cows with docked tails suffer much greater distress during fly season because they are not able to disperse biting insects effectively.

Professional associations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association have issued statements opposing the procedure. However, despite the evidence that tail docking causes cows pain and does not accomplish what its proponents claim, the Illinois Farm Bureau is fighting SB 1336.

“I have requested the bill to ban ‘tail docking’ of dairy cows be assigned to a study sub-committee in order to achieve an in-depth review of this very important issue,” stated Senator Munoz. “Studies conducted, using rigorous scientific methodology, have raised some valid concerns of both humanitarian and human health issues. A study will provide the Illinois Senate the necessary time to examine this issue completely.”

Another bill to ban tail docking of dairy cows was introduced earlier this month in the California legislature by Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, who has made animal welfare a top priority for the state Senate’s Committee on Food and Agriculture. While California and Illinois weigh whether to ban tail docking of dairy cows, countries like the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands have already outlawed the practice.

“Cows are born with tails that have very clear anatomical functions, like swatting flies away and communicating with other cows,” argued Baur. “When a cow’s tail is removed, she literally loses a piece of who she is. It is cruel and unnecessary to cut off cows’ tails and the practice should be outlawed.”

Farm Sanctuary Press Release

Amazing Race Recap

I love watching TV. Almost as much, I love reading the TV Watch recaps on Entertainment Weekly. Because the writers have such an intimate relationship with the shows they cover, they sometimes point out important details I might have missed or explain events in a larger context. Moreover, for the most part, the writers put such a humorous spin on the shows, I always end up laughing out loud. For example, Josh Wolk begins his recap of last night’s episode of The Amazing Race thus:

Sometimes it’s funny when Amazing Race teams prove their ignorance of everything other than how to match sweatsuits. When, say, a Racer speaks Spanish in Turkey, or can’t pronounce ”Bulgaria,” it’s amusing: ”What dopes!” I cry smugly and we can all laugh together at the ignorance of this one random doofus on a reality show.But on last night’s show, five out of eight racers had never heard of Anton Chekhov. Not ”didn’t know how to spell” Chekhov: Had never heard of him. And when asked to unscramble his name with seven letters, they reacted as if they were told to name something incredibly obscure and local, like, ”Unscramble the name of Siberia’s top mailman.” Suddenly, dopiness couldn’t be dismissed as an isolated incident. It made you think, ”Good lord, is this an exact microcosm of our country?” I’ve got something else to unscramble, too: WEER SRCEWED.


Tumblr Idea Journal

This semester, I am requiring my students in Business Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship to keep a weekly “Idea Journal.” I was hoping the assignment would help the students engage in and think through the material we were covering each week. So far, the assignment has not fulfilled my expectations–I’ll have to think of reworking it the next time I teach the course.

Because I am requiring if of my students, I thought I would create a tumblr account, too. It’s a cool way of amassing information, but I miss the comment feature. I would like the students to know that I am looking at and thinking about their entries. (Some students are writing blogs instead, while others are utilizing off-line Word documents.)

Here’s my tumblr page: So I have a blog, flickr, facebook, twitter, tumblr, and myspace (which I never update). The Daily Show spoof of social networking is ringing too true!