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Anheuser-Busch says it has stopped cutting the tails of its Budweiser Clydesdale horses

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Following pressure from animal activists, Anheuser-Busch, the brewing company that owns Budweiser, said it has stopped cutting the tails of the beer brand's famous Clydesdale horses. 

An Anheuser-Busch spokesperson confirmed Thursday that the company discontinued the practice of equine tail docking earlier this year. The procedure involves the "amputation of the distal part of the boney part of the tail," according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The Clydesdale horses first appeared in Budweiser imagery in 1933 to celebrate the repeal of the Prohibition, according to the company. They've since continued to appear in many commercials and ads, rising to the status of cultural icons. 

"The safety and well-being of our beloved Clydesdales is our top priority," the company spokesperson said.

Anheuser-Busch said it will no longer cut off the tails of its famous Clydesdale horses.  Bloomberg

The announcement came after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other animal rights groups sent a letter earlier this month addressed to Jason Warner, CEO of Europe Zone at Anheuser-Busch, urging that the company "immediately prohibit" the surgery on the Clydesdales. 

"This unnecessary procedure – which involves severing the spine –  is a permanent disfigurement that causes lifelong pain, affects the horses' balances, and leaves them without natural protection from flies and other biting insects," the letter read, adding that horses depend on their tails to communicate with each other. 

According to the AVMA, it's widely suggested that vets avoid surgical procedures that are "cosmetic" or "not medically necessary," and 10 U.S. states currently prohibit docking of horses' tails fully or without medical cause. The American Association of Equine Practitioners condemns the practice when it's done for cosmetic purposes. 

After Anheuser-Busch confirmed it had stopped the practice, PETA said its staff would celebrate by "cracking open some cold ones."

"This victory comes after dozens of protests, nationwide ad campaigns, and more than 121,000 pleas from concerned consumers," PETA said. 

The controversy comes amid a difficult year for Anheuser-Busch. Sales for one of its signature beer brands, Bud Light, dipped following an Instagram ad campaign with Dylan Mulvaney. The transgender actress and activist partnered with the company on April 1, outraging some conservatives. While Bud Light is still popular, Anheuser-Busch felt the aftereffects of the turmoil and in July said it was eliminating close to 2% of workers — about 380 of their roughly 19,000 employees. 

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