Tail docking: reminder about new regulations on minimum length

// Animal Welfare

With docking – or tailing – about to get underway in many areas, Beef + Lamb New Zealand is issuing another reminder about the new tail length requirements.

sheep feeding

Will Halliday, B+LNZ’s Senior Advisor, Animal Welfare and Biosecurity, says the length of the docked tail must be no shorter than the distal end of the caudal fold. That is the end of the flaps of skin that attach the underside of the tail to the lamb’s body.

“This is the absolute minimum length under the new animal welfare regulations, which came into effect in May of this year.”

Docking tails shorter than this can lead to in infringement fee of $500.

He says a hot iron or rubber ring are the only methods that can be used to remove tails and use of any other method can lead to an infringement fee of $500.

“It is important farmers ensure their docking or tailing gangs are aware of what is required under the new regulations and the people removing the tails are adhering to that minimum length.”

Only lambs under six months of age can be docked by a farmer or staff – any lambs older than six months must be done by a vet. Docking a lamb over six months old is an offence with a fine on conviction of up to $3,000.