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State government docking ban in Australia

The State Government of Western Australia has announced its intention to legally ban the docking of dogs' tails unless performed by a registered veterinarian for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes.

Local Government and Regional Development Minister Tom Stephens said the practice of tail amputation, also known as tail docking, was inhumane and in most instances unnecessary.

"Tail docking has been banned in many countries across the world for several years," Mr Stephens said. "The ACT already has a ban on tail docking and I anticipate that other States will follow suit.

"It can be a cruel and painful process for dogs particularly if performed by non-veterinarians and without any anaesthetic.

"I acknowledge that the RSPCA and the Australian Veterinary Association have campaigned against the mutilation of animals for cosmetic (non-veterinary) purposes and I share their concerns.

"It has also been revealed that tail-docking could lead to physical complications. There is no valid reason to amputate the tails of puppies, particularly when tails are an important canine communication tool.

"The Government is committed to promoting responsible animal care and ensuring that legislation reflects the highest possible standards in the treatment and well being of animals.

“There will be instances where for therapeutic or prophylactic reasons and individual dog's tail will need to be docked and an example might be where a dog's tail has been injured beyond repair," he said.

The Western Australian Veterinary Surgeons Board will be working to determine circumstances by which tail docking could occur under the new regulations.

"Tail docking for cosmetic purposes is no longer a practice which is supported by the wider community and this Government is prepared to lead and make the hard decisions," Mr Stephens said.

The Minister called on all dog clubs and associations in the state to support this move.