- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
California State Senator Dean Florez (D-Shafter) has introduced a bill that would ban the practice of docking dairy cow tails, according to a story in Capital Press. Calling the practice of severing cows' tails unnecessary and cruel, Florez said that the new bill is a good place for him to start in efforts to make animal welfare in agriculture a central issue.
Florez is chair of the Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture. According to the story, he decided to focus on animal welfare issues after the overwhelming voter approval in November of Proposition 2, which bars veal crates, battery cages, sow gestation crates and any enclosure that prevents animals from turning around, standing up or spreading their wings.
". . . We're very, very focused on trying to figure out what are the animal welfare issues that we have ignored for so many decades here in California," Florez was quoted.
At a press conference last week, Florez said tail docking tends to accompany higher-volume production and depressed market conditions. Reporter Wes Sander spoke to UC Cooperative Extension dairy farm advisor Noelia Silva-del-Rio for her perspective on tail docking.
The story said Silva-del-Rio is conducting a study that so far suggests that 89 percent of the state's dairies do not dock tails and 86 percent of dairy cows are in non-docking operations. The preliminary data has come from Tulare, Kings, Kern and Fresno counties, the article said.