Tail Docking of Cattle Decried by Animal Advocates, Experts

In 2008, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that tail docking was not a humane practice and thus not protected as an agricultural practice under New Jersey law. If a dairy farmer were sued for cruelty, he could not use state law as a defense.

Chris Galen, spokesperson for the National Milk Producers Federation, a dairy farmers' trade association, said the practice of docking has become less popular in recent years. He said his group does not support docking, preferring other methods of cow hygiene, but he questioned the wisdom of making laws against it. Said Galen, "I think at the end of the day you have to ask, 'Is it of sufficient concern that we necessarily have to create laws that prohibit its use?' And I don't think it crosses that threshold."

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