PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has sent a letter via email to Mayor Yaniv Aronson of Conshohocken asking him to prohibit the appearance in the borough of the Budweiser Clydesdales scheduled for Friday, April 7th. This action is sought by PETA due to its allegation that Anheuser-Busch amputates the tailbones of the horses. The process is commonly referred to as “docking” and is done to prevent the horse’s tail from interfering with the harness.
Please note that the mayor likely does not have the authority to prohibit an event (the borough council does).
To offer some background on how events are approved in the Borough of Conshohocken, organizers are required to complete an application and submit details and proof of insurance. For this event, the borough is closing streets, restricting parking along those streets, and redirecting traffic. The application does not include any questions about or require any information on how any animals participating are treated or cared for. Depending on the scale of the event, the borough council may be required to approve it during a public meeting. This event did not rise to that level.
In 2019, Whitemarsh Township’s Board of Supervisors voted to ban performances by animals at events like circuses and rodeos. Since the Clydesdales are a performance, this event would have also been prohibited in the township. The adopted ordinance was advocated for by local animal rights activists.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, 10 states and 10 European countries have banned docking for cosmetic reasons. The American Association of Equine Practitioners states that it “is opposed to the alteration of the tail of the horse for cosmetic or competitive purposes.”
MoreThanTheCurve.com asked PETA if a protest was planned and the representative we communicated with shared that a protest could happen depending on the response it receives back from the borough.
You can read the text of the letter sent to the mayor below.
Dear Mayor Aronson:
I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally—to request that you prohibit the Budweiser Clydesdales from making an appearance in the Borough of Conshohocken as Anheuser-Busch cruelly amputates the tailbones of these horses. PETA exposed the company’s practice in a recent undercover investigation. Please see the video here.
The amputation of the horses’ tailbones, either by severing the tailbone or putting a tight band around the tail to cut off blood flow, is done just to make the horses look a certain way. It’s an unnecessary permanent disfigurement that causes immense pain, affects the horses’ balance, and leaves them without natural protection from flies or other biting insects. Horses also depend on their tails to communicate with herdmates and with humans.
Both the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the American Veterinary Medical Association condemn severing horses’ tails unless it’s medically necessary. Many European countries, including Belgium, where Anheuser-Busch is headquartered, have banned this practice, as have 10 U.S. states.
If Budweiser is concerned that tail hair might become entangled in a wagon’s hitch equipment, simple braiding and wrapping of the tails would prevent this possibility.
Budweiser presents the iconic Clydesdales as symbols of traditional American values, but harming horses is the antithesis of what Americans hold dear, and the company’s lack of concern for these iconic animals would reflect poorly on your community. Allowing the Budweiser Clydesdales to make an appearance, especially in front of children, would unfortunately and inadvertently condone the company’s inhumane practice. We hope you will speak with Anheuser-Busch executives and urge them to discontinue tailbone severing and, in the meantime, cancel the upcoming scheduled appearance.
Thanks very much for your consideration. May I please hear from you?
Senior Vice President
Equine Matters Department