The animal rights organisation PETA has gone undercover to expose Anheuser-Busch Companies LLC, the company that produces the American beer Budweiser, for painfully amputating the tails of Clydesdale Horses exploited to pull the traditional wagons the company uses for publicity, in a practice banned in several states called “tail docking”.
PETA went undercover at Warm Springs Ranch in Missouri, US, where Budweiser Clydesdales are bred, visited Grant’s Farm where the horses are trained, and talked to handlers who travel with teams of adult horses. They uncovered that the tailbones of the famed Clydesdales are amputated primarily to make them look a certain way as they pull the wagon.
PETA discovered that when the Clydesdales are still foals, the bones of their tails, which are part of their spines, are completely or partially severed, either with a scalpel or by putting a band around the tail to stop blood flow, which causes a great deal of pain, so the tail eventually drops off.
All horses need their tails to protect themselves from biting insects, for balance, mobility, and communication. Tail docking is prohibited in ten US states (unless medically necessary) and in several countries. The American Association of Equine Practitioners “condemns the alteration of the tail of the horse for cosmetic or competitive purposes.”
Sid Gustafson, an Equine veterinarian, said: “The procedure is painful for weeks afterwards, and many draft people perform the horrid procedure without anaesthesia, and by the application of strong rubber bands which result in lack of circulation, and a slow and painful death of the tail. … Tail amputation is a despicable, disgraceful procedure that inflicts irreparable, irreversible harm to the horse.”