Vets want complete ban on docking dogs’ tails
THE BAN on docking dogs’ tails should not exempt working dogs, vets will urge MSPs this month.
The practice of removing part or all of a dog’s tail by surgical excision or constricting its blood supply was banned in 2007 except for veterinary treatment, where the tail is injured or diseased.
Exemptions existed in other parts of the UK and last year Holyrood held a consultation asking if vets can also dock the tails of working spaniel and hunt point retriever puppies by up to a third of their length to reduce the risk of more serious injury later in life.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced legislation would be changed to permit the shortening of the tails of spaniel and hunt point retriever puppies, where a vet believes they are likely to be for use as a working dog and risk serious tail injury in later life. A ban on wild animals in travelling circuses was also announced.
However the British Veterinary Association’s Scottish branch (BVAS), while welcoming the Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Bill, called the government’s legislation ‘a mixed bag’.
President Grace Webster said: ‘Until recently Scotland also led the way on dog welfare with a complete ban on tail docking so we are extremely disappointed at the decision to reverse this stance.
‘ We have considered all the evidence and remain convinced that tail docking in dogs, even specific breeds, is detrimental to their welfare.
‘This is a retrograde step for animal welfare in Scotland, amidst an otherwise progressive package of animal welfare measures.’
At the end of May, the BVAS will be giving evidence to the Environment Committee in the Scottish Parliament ahead of a vote on whether or not to approve the change in law relating to tail docking.
The government’s legislation also includes the introduction of controls to restrict the use of electronic training collars and a commitment to update regulations to combat the irresponsible breeding and sale of dogs, cats and rabbits.