With sheep in Australia and I suspect also in America, the tail docking is in the best interest of the sheep. Sheep are not indigenous to our country and therefore vulnerable to what the foreign country has to offer. Blow flies are the issue. If the tail is not docked the sheeps butt becomes matted with faeces, we do not have the rainfall either that in Ireland would help to clean the sheep. The whole area gets fly blown with maggots that will make their way into the sheets anus. A fly blown sheep is very much a suffering animal and this is why in Australia and probably America, the tails are docked at birth.
Not in anyway defending the random mutilation of animals but with sheep it is not about aesthetics like it is with dogs, it is about the wellbeing of the animal.
Wool sheep are docked so they don't get "fly strike" which they have to be put down for. Meat sheep don't grow the wool coat so they don't have to have their tails docked. Even the ones that need their tales docked shouldn't be done as short as some people do them. They should be leaving enough tail to cover the naked skin around their anus, or they can sunburn there and get skin cancer. Some breeds of sheep do have shorter wool around their hind ends so they don't mat up back there. Maybe that's what the Irish have.
Gotta love 'em.
I was told by an agronomist here that tails are docked in the states for 'cleanliness'.
I don't think that sheep as we now know them are native to any country. They are the product of selective breeding like cattle. We do have native sheep in America, wild sheep, with curly horns. I saw them from time to time when I still lived in New Mexico.
Cleanliness is the whole point. If the butt is not clean it will get fly blown and then the animal will be in a world of trouble, as GM said, it will need to be put down. It doesn't really matter if sheep are now as they once were, the fact remains that heavily woollen coated critters of any kind will likely suffer in a climate and flora/fauna situation that is foreign to them if management and prevention is not practiced.. Few people in the world don't enjoy or benefit from wool production and it is was it is. Such as it is it would be cruel to not dock tails. I can't see a situation happening anytime soon whereby society says, "oh, we don't like docking sheep tails so lets stop all production of animals that require it.