What is the need to perform caudectomy procedures in sheep?

By Fabiana de Orte Stamm, PhD student, Universidade Federal do Paraná; Carla Forte Maiolino Molento and Marcelo Beltrão Molento, Professors, Laboratório de Bem-estar Animal e Laboratório de Doenças Parasitárias, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brazil

What is the perception of sheep breeders regarding sheep welfare and the tail docking procedure? This question motivated researchers from the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), Brazil, to undertake a study on the perception of sheep farmers in the South of Brazil. The results are reported in the article “South Brazilian farmers’ perceptions concerning sheep tail docking “, in the Ciência Rural journal (vol.49, no.4).

The researchers interviewed by phone or personally 146 farmers to find out their attitude towards the practice of tail docking. Farmer perceptions are divergent. Most of them claimed to perform tail docking procedure due to reasons such as hygiene, facilitated mating, breed standards and aesthetics. About 20%, however, did not perform the procedure, as they raised short-hair sheep breeds. Of those who performed tail docking, about 5% applied anesthesia during the procedure.

According to the researchers Carla Molento, Fabiana de Orte Stamm and Marcelo Beltrão Molento, the real need for tail docking practice should be weighed against the fact that some producers report the feasibility of keeping sheep with intact tails and the need for recognizing the suffering caused to animals. They also emphasized the need to encourage the use of anesthesia and analgesia in performing the procedure, since their use is low among farmers.

Photo: The authors.

Figure 1. Grazing lamb with intact tail, a token of the need for respecting the integrity of the organism of an individual.

This is the first research to identify the reasons why Brazilian farmers perform tail docking in sheep, besides raising their perceptions about the practice. The researchers performed this work inspired by other studies on farmers’ perception of animal welfare issues, such as cattle famers in Southern Brazil (HÖTZEL et al., 2014) and in Italy, Germany and France (KLING-EVEILLARD, et al., 2015), sheep famers in the south of Brazil (TAMIOSO, et al. 2017) and in UK (DWYER, 2009) and farmers working with other animals (TE VELDE; AARTS; VAN WOERKUM, 2002).


DWYER, C.M. Welfare of sheep: providing for welfare in an extensive environment. Small Ruminant Research [online]. 2009, vol. 86, no. 1/3, pp. 14-21, ISSN: 0921-4488 [reviewed 20 May 2019]. DOI: 10.1016/j.smallrumres.2009.09.010. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921448809001680?via%3Dihub

HÖTZEL, M.J., et al. A survey of management practices that influence performance and welfare of dairy calves reared in Southern Brazil. PLOS ONE [online]. 2014, vol. 9, no. 12, pp. 1-17, e-ISSN: 1932-6203 [reviewed 20 May 2019]. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114995. Available from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0114995

KLING-EVEILLARD, F., et al. Attitudes of farmers towards cattle dehorning. Livestock Science [online]. 2015, vol. 179, pp. 12-21, ISSN: 1871-1413 [reviewed 20 May 2019]. DOI: 10.1016/j.livsci.2015.05.012. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1871141315002413?via%3Dihub

TAMIOSO, P.R., GUIMARAES, P.R.B. and MOLENTO, C.F.M. Attitudes of South Brazilian sheep farmers to animal welfare and sentience. Cienc. Rural [online]. 2017, vol. 47, no. 12, e20170450, ISSN: 1678-4596 [reviewed 8 May 2019]. DOI: 10.1590/0103-8478cr20170450. Available from: http://ref.scielo.org/ws8sdy

TE VELDE, H., AARTS, N. and VAN WOERKUM, C. Dealing with ambivalence: farmers’ and consumers’ perceptions of animal welfare in livestock breeding. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. 2002, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 203-219, e-ISSN:1573-322X [reviewed 20 May 2019]. Available from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1015012403331

To read the article, access it

STAMM, F.O., MOLENTO, M.B. and MOLENTO, C.F.M. South Brazilian farmers’ perceptions concerning sheep tail docking. Cienc. Rural [online]. 2019, vol. 49, no. 4, e20180571, ISSN: 0103-8478 [reviewed 8 May 2019]. DOI: 10.1590/0103-8478cr20180571. Available from: http://ref.scielo.org/sr6tv6

External links

Ciência Rural – CR: <http://www.scielo.br/cr>

Sobre – Laboratório de Bem Estar Animal <http://www.labea.ufpr.br/sobre/>


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

STAMM, F.O., MOLENTO, C.F.M. and MOLENTO, M.B. What is the need to perform caudectomy procedures in sheep? [online]. SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases, 2019 [viewed ]. Available from: https://pressreleases.scielo.org/en/2019/05/27/what-is-the-need-to-perform-caudectomy-procedures-in-sheep/


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