Dogs Trust has expressed deep regret and disappointment at the Scottish Government’s plans to consult on the possible relaxation of tail docking legislation for certain working dogs, namely spaniels and hunt point retrievers.
In a statement, the charity said: “We are opposed to the docking of puppies’ tails, believing puppies suffer unnecessary pain as a result of docking and are deprived of a vital form of canine expression.”
Dogs Trust said it lobbied heavily for a complete ban on tail docking in 2007 and cited Scotland’s legislation as a key example of how the country has led the way on dog welfare issues.
The legislation presently bans all docking, other than those conducted as necessary for veterinary medical reasons, for all breeds of dog.
“We do not believe there is an accurate means by which tail docking could be genuinely restricted to puppies that later go on to be working dogs,” the charity says.
“We would consider such an exemption to be a significant loophole in the legislation as it would be impossible to differentiate between genuine owners or breeders of working dogs and those who simply say the puppies will go on to be working dogs, when, in fact, they just want the procedure performed on the animal.”
From a welfare and ethical perspective, Dogs Trust continues to question whether the reduction in possible injury risk justifies the pain involved with tail docking.
It has previously highlighted its concerns with the research carried out by the University of Glasgow and will draw on scientific evidence that proves the act of docking causes pain and also the findings pain in neonates is enhanced compared to adults.
Dogs Trust said it had grave reservations regarding the upcoming consultation and will be expressing these views and others to the Scottish Government.