After mounting pressure from animal rights groups such as PETA, American beer giant Anheuser-Busch have stopped docking the tails of its iconic Clydesdales.
The company behind Budweiser issued a statement that read in part, “the practice of equine tail docking was discontinued earlier this year.” The company had been under fire for the practice, which essentially amputates the lower bony portion of the tail so that it won’t interfere with the harness or wagon. “Docking” goes back centuries and across other breeds of horses, but the famous Clydesdales, long a fan favourite for their heartwarming appearances in Super Bowl commercials, will now be spared.
In addition to the pain of such a procedure, docking also stops horses from being able to flick away flies and other insects, and communicating with each other. The brewery brand made the announcement last week and the mainstream press quickly galloped away with the story.
According to the company’s website, the Clydesdales made their debut in 1933 when two six-horse teams pulled beer wagons through the streets of New York to mark the end of Prohibition. Currently, a team of eight horses pull the wagon in appearances around the United States. Since the 1950s, Dalmatians have traveled with the Budweiser Clydesdales hitch, proudly perched atop the wagon next to the driver.
Adding to the company’s new pro-animal bona fides is official recognition from the American Humane Society, which issued this statement on the same day that Budweiser announced its ban on tail docking. “Today announced the certification of the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales and Dalmatians of Anheuser-Busch. The distinction of American Humane Certified™ identifies that Anheuser-Busch has met American Humane’s comprehensive, science-based standards for animal welfare and humane treatment of animals.”
Horse lovers can now drink their Bud without guilt.