Vets want com­plete ban on dock­ing dogs’ tails

The Oban Times - - Farming -

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.

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