An animal rights charity has gathered support from a number of celebrities for its urgent call to end a cruel practice commonplace in the dairy industry.

On behalf of Kim Basinger, Alicia Silverstone, Bill Maher, Bob Barker and a host of other California celebrities – as well as their more than 200,000 members and supporters – Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, sent a letter today to Governor Schwarzenegger urging him to do the right thing and sign a bill sitting on his desk that would end the cruel and outdated practice of amputating dairy cows’ tails.

Both chambers of the California legislature recently passed a bill that would ban tail docking in the dairy industry, but the bill will not become law unless the governor signs it.

Tail docking, the amputation of a cow’s tail by applying a tight rubber ring around the appendage until the tissue becomes necrotic and falls off, or is alternatively cut off with shears, is a procedure usually performed without analgesics and causes the animal to suffer acute and lingering pain. It also prohibits them from warding off biting insects with their tail, leading to greater distress during fly season. Peer-reviewed research from both governmental and academic sources indicates there are no health or safety benefits associated with tail docking, and the procedure has been opposed by numerous professional associations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.

“With last November’s landslide passage of Prop 2, banning the three cruelest farm animal confinement systems in the state, Californians made it clear they will no longer tolerate cruel and unnecessary practices on factory farms,” said Gene Baur, Farm Sanctuary’s president and co-founder. “By putting an end to tail docking, Governor Schwarzenegger has the opportunity to continue this wave of compassion and send a humane message to the rest of the country.”

Celebrities who signed Farm Sanctuary’s letter to Governor Schwarzenegger urging him to ban tail docking in California include Alicia Silverstone, Bill Maher, Bob Barker, Emily Deschanel, Eric Roberts, Esai Morales, Fred Willard, Ginnifer Goodwin, James Cromwell, Joan van Ark, Kim Basinger, Kristen Bell, Mariel Hemingway, Mimi Kennedy and Valerie Harper.

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