Lv 6
. asked in PetsHorses · 1 decade ago

Is tail docking illegal?

I thought that tail docking was illegal in the US. But my boyfriend pointed out that in their commercials, the Budweiser Clydesdales appear to be docked, and I think he's right...the braided tails look too small and compact to be a full tail put up.

Is tail docking illegal in any states or countries? All the info I can find online is about dogs, despite the fact that I am searching with the term "horse"...!


I get why it's done (safety under harness) but I don't understand why the horse's tail can't just be put up in a bound polo bang or a very well-secured braid. That's what I would do with friesians and fjords with super-long tails that were working under harness.

17 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    docking of tails is still legal in the united states and is used mostly on draft breeds in hitch or showing..even though i had Clyde's under hitch i was never a fan of docking tails but it does serve a purpose.it keeps the tails out of the drop chains,reins,other horses faces and away from the equalizer bars and gives a finished look to the team.also under cart it keeps the horse from swatting you with its tail.you have to keep a lot of fly spray around horses with docked tails to keep them away..docking is ussually done at a early age under anesthesia so their are no scars when they are old enough to drive in a show.

    EDIT: Thank you Mule!! some of mine werent docked so we had to thin the tails and shorten them,double braid and use ribbons to tie them up to the crouper.this sometimes didnt work and would irritate the tail so we made them saddle horses..

    EDIT2: very good My avatar is hot but i am not,,however in those laws by those states the law reads "any surgical procedure to shorten or dock tails"however it doesnt include banding the tail in the legal discription which is the prefered way of docking tails these days!

    Source(s): member Clydesdale breeders of the United States
  • ?
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Horse Tail Docking

  • Myta
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    yes it's legal, I am a carriage driver in Austin, Texas and almost all of our Clydesdales are docked. And yes, all Budweiser stock is docked. The muscling and bone in a horse's tail is the dangerous part, if they swish their tail and catch the lines, it can mean death to horse, driver, or anyone on the sidewalks they might hit while control is lost. A clydesdale's tail can be between 1.5 and 2 feet long (just the bone and muscle part) and that is too long to keep control of. The docked tails (between 4 and 6 inches) can be braided and the ends tied to the harness so the horse can not flip any part of it over the lines.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's illegal in NY now where I live, you also are forbidden to show any horse that has a docked tail here who is younger than when the statute went into effect (older horses are ok, it wasn't illegal when they were done.)

    Oops, sorry, have to change this, it's actually 11 states it's illegal in! Here's a list for you, correct as of 2004-

    The practice of docking is illegal in 11 states and the District of Columbia. California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio and Washington.

    Source(s): John, the technical dodge of banding instead of the actual "cut" as quoted by the law is starting to be challenged in court here in NY, and I anticipate it will in other states, too. If the animal rights activists who are pushing for that interpetation lose in court, they'll try to get the language of the law changed to reflect banding as well. (Inevitable tactic.) My vet, and many others in this area, will no longer band a draft horse's tail on principal. I know it is safer for driving, but as actual working horses disappear and are replaced by pleasure driving, the industry loses it's ability to argue as effectively for the practice.
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  • emily
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I hadn't heard it was illegal in horses in any of the states.

    I do want to add that there are several breeds who show quite a bit in driving classes with full tails Saddlebreds are a big one and they go for extra length. Halflingers, Freisans and others show in full tails as well. It's mainly the drafts who are docked and while safety and simplicity are a concern I wonder if it also has to do with the fact they are often driven in teams?

  • Cheryl
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Docking of tails is illegal in UK,unless the dog can be proven to be a working dog ie,gun dog etc.Then it can be carried out by a qualified vet.

  • 1 decade ago

    Whoever the thumbs down moron was to john's answer, shows how absolutely idiotic you are, because he was correct in everything.

    I personally would dock a draft's tail for working in harness, definately safer for the animal. You thumbs downing moron try working with a PTO on a cart and then see what we are talking about.

    Nice answer John.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Good point. Not sure if it is illegal in England. Ear clipping dogs is, but tail docking (dogs) can be done by a vet. I also would be interested to know the answer.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    in the UK.... london and wales (don't know about scottland as unlike us they have their own parlement, we have to go with whatever london tells us to do even if it means london letting Liverpool drown out part of our country when we are small enough as it is... getting off topic here)

    In London and wales tail docking any animal is illegal unless it is for working dogs or for medical reasons.

    It is classed as mutilation and is a breech of the "Animal Welfare Act 2006"

    Source(s): We learnt about it on our animal course in college.
  • 1 decade ago

    Maybe they bought them from a farm in another country that allows it. & Thats maybe why they bought them from there so they can have dock tails.....????

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