lamb inspection2

Early findings on tail docking trial revealed

The preliminary findings of research into tail docking by Alliance Group and their science partner AbacusBio, have found that leaving a lamb's tail longer or intact had no long-term beneficial or detrimental effect on its growth rate.

The research involving a nationwide farmer survey and field trials in Southland, Canterbury and Manawatu, is supported by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund, UK supermarket Sainsbury’s and Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

Murray Behrent, general manager of livestock at Alliance Group, says the first year of the trial has been successful. “While the outcomes only represent preliminary findings, they do provide some useful early confirmation on the effect of tail docking on growth rates and we will be looking forward to the final results in 2015."

“There is currently a lack of scientific information addressing the productive, economic and welfare aspects of docking lamb tails." This situation leaves New Zealand farmers vulnerable to concerns from international markets relating to the actual length of tails docked.

“It is therefore important that any welfare issues that concern consumers and have the potential to become barriers in our international markets are addressed so that we can respond on a scientific basis with available trial data.”

The study was important to support the image of New Zealand product in key markets, Murray says.

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Image courtesy of Beef + Lamb New Zealand