Anheuser-Busch says it will stop cutting tails off famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses

Anheuser-Busch will no longer cut the tails off their iconic Clydesdale horses after facing pressure from animal rights activists.

The company announced Wednesday it is ending a practice known as tail docking, a practice that "traditionally has been performed to prevent the tail of the horse from interfering with harness and carriage equipment," according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The practice of equine tail docking was discontinued earlier this year, a spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch told USA TODAY, while noting that "the safety and well-being of our beloved Clydesdales is our top priority."

The association says the amputation removes a portion of the bony part of a horse's tail, often using a constricting band, and the procedure can reduce the tail "to the extent that it cannot be used to fend off flies and biting insects."

Additionally, the tail is also useful to the horse for displays of mental and physiological states, according to the AVMA.

In the United States, tail docking is prohibited in ten states unless rendered medically necessary. New Hampshire permits the procedure only with the permission from a state veterinarian, according to the AVMA. The procedure is also illegal in multiple countries.

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Earlier this month, a coalition of animal rights organizations from around the world, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, sent a letter to Anheuser-Busch requesting the company end the practice, citing the negative effects tail docking can have on horses.

"PETA's staff are cracking open some cold ones today to celebrate that Budweiser is cutting out the cruelty by agreeing to stop painfully severing horses' tailbones," PETA senior vice president Kathy Guillermo said in a press release.

Anheuser-Busch began using the Clydesdales in their marketing in 1933, when August Busch Jr. and Adolphus Busch III surprised their father, August A. Busch Sr., with the gift of a six-horse Clydesdale hitch to commemorate the repeal of Prohibition, according to the company's website.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Budweiser Clydesdales: Anheuser-Busch to stop cutting horses' tails