Tail docking and teeth clipping of swine

The AVMA recommends the use of procedures and practices that reduce or eliminate pain associated with tail docking and teeth clipping of pigs and this may include the use of approved or AMDUCA-permissible clinically effective medications. Only trained personnel should perform tail docking and teeth clipping, using clean, sharp equipment and procedures that minimize pain and prevent infection. Correct handling and restraint must be utilized to minimize stress and injury of pigs during the procedures.

Tail docking is performed to reduce tail biting and cannibalism among pigs. Tail docking should be performed early and sufficiently prior to weaning such that no open wounds remain on the end of the tail at the time of weaning.

Teeth clipping is a management tool performed only when necessary to prevent trauma to littermates' faces and the sow's underline by piglets' canine teeth when competing for a teat. Alternative management practices, including those that reduce the need for piglet movement between litters, should be used when possible to reduce the need for teeth clipping. When necessary, teeth clipping should be performed early and prior to weaning.

Related resources

Literature review

Welfare implications of teeth clipping, tail docking and permanent identification of piglets

Additional resource

Extralabel drug use and AMDUCA FAQ