Good News for Budweiser's Clydesdales

Anheuser-Busch will no longer dock their tails, after animal-rights groups protest
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2023 2:00 PM CDT
Good News for Budweiser's Clydesdales
A Budweiser Clydesdale horse is displayed on a local parade float during in the 8th annual McAllen Holiday Parade on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in McAllen, Texas.   (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP)

It's been a busy year if you're in Budweiser's PR department, and it's about to be a happier year if you happen to be in their storied Clydesdale department (we're assuming you're not, because Clydesdales aren't so great with navigating the internet). As the Wall Street Journal reports, the latest concession out of Bud parent Anheuser-Busch is that the company will no longer cut, or dock, the tails of its signature draft horses. "The safety and well-being of our beloved Clydesdales is our top priority," AB InBev said in a statement. While the change likely doesn't affect the dozens of horses Bud keeps at its breweries in St. Louis, it will have implications for new arrivals to its breeding herd of 75 in Boonville, Mo.

The move comes after pressure from some European countries and animal-rights groups including PETA, which the WSJ notes contends that the practice of cutting the animals' tails off causes them "lifelong pain, affects their balance, leaves them unable to brush away flies and interferes with their ability to communicate with herdmates." PETA contends that the practice is cruel, recently posting video of the horses with docked tails and calling them "insect buffets" without the benefit of their full tail to brush bugs away.

Budweiser has showcased the Clydesdales since the end of Prohibition in 1933, and docking the horses' tails was originally done to prevent them from getting caught up in the reins or other carriage equipment. The procedure—which involves either directly cutting part of the tail off or using a band to cut off blood supply to part of the tail, encouraging it to fall off—is banned in several states and European countries. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, leaving the horses' tails intact is important in fending "off flies and biting insects" as well as "for displays of mental and physiological states." (More Budweiser stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.