Docking sheep’s tails to an excessively short length could result in prosecution and a reduction in Single Farm Payment, according to Animal Health.


The body has noticed a rising trend in the number of sheep, particularly pedigree breeds that have undergone short tail docking.

And with the practice of short docking illegal and liable to create animal welfare problems, any sheep owner caught undertaking the process could have a significant portion of their Single Farm Payment withheld.

Depending on the severity of the regulation breach, sheep owners who short dock could have SPS payments reduced by 1% to 100%.

With the lambing season under way, livestock owners are being urged to make themselves aware of the legislation concerning tail docking and the code of recommendations for the welfare of sheep.

The practice can damage the nerves and muscles in sheep, leading to serious welfare issues, says Paul Honeyman, Animal Health’s vet service manager for welfare.

“Short docking can cause considerable suffering in later life and result in hefty vet bills.

“Owners must also be aware they stand to lose considerably financially.”