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Originally published October 12, 2009 at 4:07 PM | Page modified October 13, 2009 at 8:50 AM

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Schwarzenegger says Calif. cows can keep tails

California cows are the first in the nation with the legal right to swat flies as nature intended now that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill banning the painful practice of tail docking that he once mocked as being a waste of legislators' time.

Associated Press Writer

FRESNO, Calif. —

FRESNO, Calif. — California cows are the first in the nation with the legal right to swat flies as nature intended now that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill banning the painful practice of tail docking that he once mocked as being a waste of legislators' time.

In a signing frenzy that lasted until his midnight Sunday deadline, Schwarzenegger also approved a state blueberry commission and new label requirements for honey.

The Humane Society of the United States has vowed to take the fight against tail docking to other large dairy states such as Wisconsin, Vermont and New York.

Dairy officials say the practice of cutting off cow tails to prevent them from slinging manure is practiced on fewer than 15 percent of the state's 1.5 million dairy cows. Docking is usually done without numbing, either with shears or with a tight band that stops the blood flow and causes the tail to die.

The governor may have been influenced to vote in favor of the farm-animal legislation by California voters, two-thirds of whom voted for Proposition 2 last November to give egg-laying chickens more space. The governor of Michigan signed similar legislation Monday.

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