A dairy cow, with a tail, feeds on hay at Johnson’s Acres Dairy Farm near Brighton, Colo., on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. The Colorado Legislature is working on a bill that would make it illegal to cut off tails on dairy cows. The snow capped Rocky Mountains can be seen in the distance. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
DENVER (AP) — A Colorado House committee is delaying a vote on a bill that would prevent farmers from cutting cattle tails for sanitary reasons — a procedure known as “docking.”
The Democrat-backed bill has pitted farmers against animal rights activists.
Farmers say docking prevents a cow’s tail from dragging in manure. Research has found it has little effect on the quality of cows’ milk or the health of farm workers.
One farmer told the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee he docks his cows’ tails to keep their udders clean. Other farmers said they don’t want the government legislating farming methods.
The biggest question was whether the government should regulate a practice done on at most a handful of Colorado farms.
The committee is expected to vote on the bill next week.