A recent PETA exposé has uncovered that Budweiser’s iconic Clydesdales allegedly undergo tail amputations for purely cosmetic purposes. For nearly a century, Budweiser has employed the Clydesdales in parades, television commercials, and at the Super Bowl. However, PETA alleges that this company is keeping a secret about how these animals are altered to guarantee they look a specific way as they pull their wagon.
Last year, after an investigation in Missouri’s Warm Springs Ranch – the home of Budweiser Clydesdales and Grant’s farm – it was revealed that some young foals had their tailbones amputated. According to the Daily Mail, ‘tail docking’ has been a practice to protect horses from any interference with carriage equipment. Oftentimes, this procedure calls for using a scalpel to surgically disconnect part of the horse’s spine. A tight band is occasionally employed to limit blood circulation, leading in the tail falling off.
However, this practice has been referred to as ‘surgical abuse’ by one equine veterinarian. It is an action that both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners condemn – unless it is medically required. As a result of being so detrimental, ten states in America have even made it illegal along with several European countries.
The story comes at a bad time. Budweiser is set to honor its 90th anniversary of the beloved “World-Famous Budweiser Clydesdales.” Ordinarily, a beer wagon is pulled by ten horses. Professionals assert that cutting off the horses’ tailbones brings about lasting disfigurement. It also leads to stress, influencing their balance and eradicating their first line of resistance against insects that transmit diseases. Moreover, these animals need to use their tails for conveying messages to herd mates.
A veterinarian weighs in on Budweiser’s Super Bowl Clydesdales’ alleged tail docking
Sid Gustafson, a renowned equine veterinarian, and PETA’s staunch advocate proclaimed that it is an inhumane practice to take away any horse’s tail. “Tail amputation results in a lifetime of impaired balance moving at speed running and turning,” Gustafson explained. “It is animal-abusive and medically undignified to deprive a horse of their tail, except in cases of medical necessity.”
According to footage acquired by The Daily Mail, Budweiser, and Anheuser-Busch representatives have attempted to claim that the horses’ tail hair has only been trimmed. However, when PETA’s investigative team interviewed handlers who accompany teams of adult horses it was exposed that some of their tailbones had actually been cut off.
Last month, PETA sent a letter to Anheuser-Busch’s Zone President North America and CEO Brendan Whitworth. They implored the company to stop tail docking immediately.
“There can be no excuse for this mutilation, which is done for cosmetic reasons,” the letter states. “Tail-braiding and -wrapping are sufficient to protect the Clydesdales’ tails from becoming entangled in wagon hitch equipment. The iconic Budweiser Clydesdales have long been symbols of American values and traditions. Your company should protect this image to ensure that they don’t become synonymous with gratuitous cruelty to horses.”
In preparation for Super Bowl Sunday, PETA launched a ‘tailgate’ campaign against Budweiser. Protestors marched next to an enormous mobile billboard through the parade routes in Arizona. As part of their protest, they circled around Anheuser-Busch’s flagship brewery in St. Louis. This was close to the 90-year anniversary mural of the Clydesdales.