DOCKED BREEDS have been banned form taking part in this years World Dog Show by order of the German Courts as part of the animal rights laws passed in Germany last year.
The ruling means that docked dogs from the UK and other countries where tail docking is not illegal may be entered at the show and demonstrates yet another example of the German Governments arrogance and bias against dogs
The German Kennel Club VDH instigated a legal challenge to the ruling which was heard at the Administrative Court in Gelsenkirchen.
The VDH had tried to gain an exceptional ruling to allow foreign dogs that are legally cropped or docked in accordance with the laws of their respective countries to participate in the World Dog Show 2003.
After exhausting all the legal possibilities - including an application to pass a preliminary order for this years show only - and also including the services of a renowned administrative lawyer, the VDHs application was dismissed by the court.
This means that the following regulations will also apply to the World Dog
In accordance with the "Tierschutz-Hundeverordnung" (animal protection dog regulations)effective from the 1st May 2002 dogs living in Germany or outside Germany that meet the following criteria will be banned from participating at dog shows:
1. Those dogs with ears cropped after the 01/01/1987
2. Those dogs with tails docked after 01/06/1998
(The only exception to this ruling includes docked or cropped dogs used for hunting in accordance with German law for the protection of animals).
The ban is not enforced in exceptional cases if a medical condition necessitating docking is known, but the corresponding veterinary certification must be enclosed together with the entry.
The ruling is bound to hit entries for the World Dog Show 2003 extremely hard and will no doubt necessitate the FCI thinking carefully on the choice of host country and venue for the show in future
Phil Buckley of the Kennel Club commented:"The Kennel Club is sorry to learn that VDH were unsuccessful with their application to the Administrative Court in which they tried to gain an exceptional ruling to allow foreign dogs that are legally cropped or docked in accordance with the respective country laws to participate in the World Dog Show. We had in fact written to VDH last September requesting clarification as to what would happen if UK exhibitors of Staffords and Bull Terriers attended Germany to exhibit - bearing in mind the current 'dangerous dog' legislation - but have not received a response to our enquiry.
Obviously UK exhibitors will not have an issue with ear cropping, but they certainly will with tail docking, therefore it is unfortunate that many will not feel in a position to participate."
Ginette Elliott of the Council of Docked Breeds added: "It appears that politics has finally entered the ring at dog shows! How can this be classed as a World Show when entries are restricted?
"This is positive discrimination and, if the dogs entered are not competing against the "Best in the World", it will not only demean the show but the winners will have cheap victories.
"Also, it is highly improbable it could be proven whether a dog had been born naturally bobbed or had its' tail docked therefore, one wonders where this leaves the natural bob-tails? Perhaps they too, will not enter? What a sad day for the hobby of dog showing"
Germany became the first European nation to vote to guarantee animal rights in its constitution last year.
A majority of lawmakers in the Bundestag voted to add "and animals" to a clause that obliges the state to respect and protect the dignity of humans.
The main impact of the measure will be to restrict the use of animals in experiments.
A total of 543 lawmakers in Germany's lower house of parliament voted in favour of giving animals constitutional rights. Nineteen voted against it and 15 abstained.
The vote was approved by the Bundesrat upper house last summer.
Article 20a of the German Basic Law will then read: "The state takes responsibility for protecting the natural foundations of life and animals in the interest of future generations."
The issue had been keenly debated among German politicians for almost 10 years.
Animals in Germany already are protected through legislation defining the conditions in which they can be held in captivity, but activists claimed it did not go far enough to control the use of animals in research.
With the new measure, the federal constitutional court will have to weigh animals' rights against other entrenched rights, like those to conduct research or practice religion. This could translate bring tighter restrictions on the use of animals for testing cosmetics or non-prescription drugs.
Consumer Affairs Minister Renate Kunast, a member of the environmentalist Greens party that has lobbied for many years to bring animal rights into the constitution, welcomed the change as groundbreaking, but emphasised it would not diminish human rights.
"People remain the most important," Kunast said.
Conservative parliament members had previously opposed the constitutional changes, arguing that it could put the interests of animals before those of humans and be particularly damaging to Germany's research industry.
Animal rights activists say they will use the constitutional changes to try and end to what they say are unduly long transport routes for animals.
Lawmakers said the government will also look at targeting more research funding to projects that seek alternatives to using animals for conducting experiments.
A widely criticised ruling by the constitutional court in January2002, authorising the traditional Islamic slaughter of animals without use of anaesthetic, lent new momentum to the animal rights movement. The court had ruled that religious freedoms were explicitly protected under the Basic Law while animal rights were not.
There is no indication that the new animal rights laws will have any impact on Germanys Fighting Dogs legislation, either at Federal or Regional States level. However, certain areas of the dog legislation could now be in direct conflict with the new animal rights legislation , such as the short leash and muzzle restrictions, and the definition that some breeds should have non contact with other animals or human beings.