TURKISH JOURNAL OF VETERINARY & ANIMAL SCIENCES, vol.45, no.4, pp.746-757, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)
The study examined the knowledge, beliefs, and attitudinal drivers of technical staff and breeders regarding tail docking and the incidence of docking on large-scale dairy farms (>= 100 cattle) in Turkey. Survey responses were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U test to determine attitudinal differences between respondents who self-reported docking tails or not docking their cattle. Using face-toface interviews of 210 respondents at 206 Turkish dairy farms was carried out. Tail docking procedures were practiced on 27.1% of the surveyed farms. At the time of the tail docking, 57.9% of cattle were less than 12 months of age. The most frequent tail docking method was amputation by rubber ring constriction (61.4%), with the following most common method being a surgical one (33.3%). The most preferred location for the tail docking was between the sixth and seventh coccygeal vertebrae (29.8%), followed by level with midudder (26.3%). The most common reasons given by respondents for docking tails were to increase hygiene (64.8%), the comfort of the workers (62.4%), and reduce the risk of mastitis (60.9%). The survey results of the present study indicated that, without clear regulations or laws, the tail docking of dairy cattle varies substantially with personal preference rather than scientific justification in Turkey. Technical staff and breeders should be educated and been aware of humane alternative methods (switch trimming) for tail docking in dairy cattle, and societal pressure and public perceptions considered about tail docking on Turkish dairy farms.