Veterinary Medicine Extension

Dairy Cattle Topics

Tail docking

Evaluation of the scientific justification for tail docking in dairy cattle
—JAVMA Vol. 220, No. 9, pps. 1298-1303, May 1, 2002, Carolyn L. Stull, PhD; Michael A. Payne, DVM, PhD; Steven L. Berry, DVM, MPVM; Pamela J. Hullinger, DVM, MPVM, DACVPM

"The practice of tail docking of dairy cows appears to have originated in New Zealand and by the 1990s was a common procedure in that country. A variety of benefits have been attributed to tail docking, including improved comfort for milking personnel and enhanced udder and milk hygiene. Although the practice has been increasing in US dairy herds, its reported benefits have been questioned by researchers who raise concerns related to animal welfare and efficacy. In a survey conducted in New Zealand, tail docking was viewed as a welfare concern by 60% of the general public and, interestingly, 53% of nondairy farmers. It is likely that US consumers will have similar concerns. In the United States, the issue ultimately may be resolved through trade negotiations or legislation. Veterinarians will need to address these issues in their practices and when developing position statements for various professional associations. It is likely that veterinarians will be key advisors in deliberations within the dairy industry and a credible source of information for consumers."

"Our working hypothesis for this review was that there is no benefit to tail docking of dairy cattle. Lay publications were evaluated to determine the alleged purpose and management factors associated with the practice of tail docking in the dairy industry. Computer-assisted databases (MEDLINE, BIOSIS, and AGRICOLA) were used to identify the peer-reviewed scientific literature available. Governmental and regulatory reports from a variety of countries also were collected and reviewed."

The complete article is available on the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Web site. Tail Docking in Dairy Cattle (PDF: 2pp, 16KB)
—White paper, April 13, 2004

Non-Ambulatory Cattle

What to do about downer cows? (PDF: 2pp, 548KB)
—by Hoard's Dairyman staff, Hoard's West, August 25, 2008, by permission

Herd Health: Treat Your Animals Well (PDF: 3pp, 876KB)
—by Ron Goble, CA Western DairyBusiness, August 2008, by permission

A review of the causes, prevention, and welfare of nonambulatory cattle
—JAVMA Vol. 231, No. 2, pps. 227-234, July 15, 2007; Carolyn L. Stull, PhD; Michael A. Payne, DVM, PhD; Steven L. Berry, DVM, MPVM; James P. Reynolds, DVM, MPVM

"A major animal welfare issue facing the livestock industry is the care, handling, and transport of nonambulatory cattle. Consumers, researchers, practitioners, and animal protection organizations have questioned the quality of care provided to and management of nonambulatory cattle and raised questions about possible food safety concerns. Veterinarians and producers continue to be challenged with providing quality care for nonambulatory cattle. In addition, veterinarians are recognized as a credible source of information for consumers, regulators, and policy makers. Thus, it would be beneficial to provide peer-reviewed information to practitioners and others who must make clinical and policy decisions."

"Several sources were searched by use of various key words to identify relevant peer-reviewed citations for the information reported here. In addition, governmental and lay reports were reviewed to ascertain policies, regulations, and historical data concerning nonambulatory cattle. Existing peer-reviewed information was considered adequate by the authors for the development of recommended on-farm management practices that could result in a decrease in the incidence of, an improvement in the prognosis for, and a benefit to the well-being of nonambulatory cattle."

The complete article is available on the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Web site.

Cull Cows

Dairy Beef: Maximizing Quality and Profits
—UC Cooperative Extension has developed an on-line teaching tool with videos and slide sets specifically addressing market dairy "cull" cows

Cull Cow Transport Checklist / Barn Chart
(PDF: 8.5 x 11 inch flier, 220KB)
(PDF: 16.5 x 25.5 inch poster, 400KB)
—By Carolyn Stull, MS, PhD, Animal Welfare Specialist in Veterinary Medicine Cooperative Extension, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis, and James Reynolds, DVM, MPVM, Dairy Production Medicine Service Chief, Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis
(PDF in Spanish: 8.5 x 11 inch flier, 250KB)
(PDF in Spanish: 11 x 17 inch poster, 389KB)

Care for the Downer Cow / Flier, Poster
(PDF: 8.5 x 11 inch flier, 2.8 MB)
(PDF: 11 x 17 inch poster, 5 MB)
—By Carolyn Stull, MS, PhD, Animal Welfare Specialist in Veterinary Medicine Cooperative Extension, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis; Steven Berry, DVM, Dairy Specialist, Department of Animal Science, UC Davis; James Reynolds, DVM, MPVM, Dairy Production Medicine Service Chief, Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis; and Michael Payne, DVM, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis
(PDF in Spanish: 8.5 x 11 inch flier, 316KB)
(PDF in Spanish: 11 x 17 inch poster, 509KB)

Calves

Stress and Dairy Calves (PDF: 5pp, 16KB)
—UC Davis Animal Science Field Day, June 24, 1997