SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Tail Docking (Farmed)

Farmed Animals

SPCA advocates for improved farming practices and improved genetics to reduce the practice of tail docking.

SPCA advocates that providing enough space, sufficient environmental enrichment, improved husbandry practices, and ensuring good overall welfare of the animal reduces the perceived need to tail dock many farmed species.

SPCA opposes the prophylactic or cosmetic docking or banding of tails of any species of farmed animals. If tail docking is performed, then it must be performed under the direction of a veterinarian for therapeutic purposes only. Adequate and appropriate medical care must be provided prior to, during, and after the operation and include anaesthesia and analgesia.

Our organisation supports the amputation of animals’ tails for therapeutic reasons only. The shortening of tails for therapeutic reasons is referred to as “amputation” not “docking”. If tail docking must take place, the most humane method available must be used and adequate and appropriate medical care must be provided prior to, during and after the procedure and include anaesthesia and analgesia.

SPCA supports continued research and development of alternate husbandry methods for species such as sheep, where tail docking is currently still required under certain conditions to ensure the welfare of the animal.

SPCA advocates for ongoing education and supply of information in the sheep and lamb industry in order to support owners and employees of the owner regarding alternative methods and solutions to routine tail docking, as well as to appropriate tail length, if tail docking cannot be avoided.

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