The common practice of tail docking will be banned for dogs and cattle in New Zealand, thanks to new regulations introduced by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
Tail docking is the act of removing an animals tail; it is thought by some to help prevent injuries and disease, however, in some cases, the practice is carried out purely for cosmetic purposes.
Many animal rights organizations and veterinary professionals believe the process is cruel and unnecessary. The American Veterinary Medical Association claims, “ear-cropping and tail-docking are not medically indicated nor of benefit to the patient. These procedures cause pain and distress and, as with all surgical procedures, are accompanied by inherent risks of anesthesia, blood loss, and infection.”
Cattle disbudding, the removal of horn buds in calves, and dehorning without pain relief will also be prohibited under the new 45 regulations, which will be implemented in October.
“We want to encourage people who are responsible for any type of animal to check they are up to date in how they are looking after them,” said the MPI director for animal health and welfare, Dr. Chris Rodwell, in a statement. “Most New Zealanders already care for their animals well, so if you’re already doing the right thing, you won’t see a lot of change.” He added, “Even if you already think you are doing the right thing, it’s best to check and make sure you are.”
Standards of animal welfare in New Zealand are currently under intense scrutiny. In July, the country’s Green Party demanded that more attention be given to the treatment of cows in the dairy industry. The announcement followed an exposé by an anonymous farmhand, who released footage of cows being beaten in a milking shed.
More recently, New Zealand’s Environment Minister revealed his shock at the state of many beef feedlots in the country. Although his comments were made from an environmental perspective, Save Animals from Exploitation (SAFE), a national animal rights organization, confirmed that feedlots are also detrimental to animal welfare.
“The farmers who are doing this are just wanting to make a quick buck by putting animals in these sorts of feedlots and it’s putting our international reputation at risk,” said Marianne MacDonald, Campaign Head for SAFE.
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