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Docking ban ‘increases injury’

A ban on docking could lead to an increase in the number of animals with injured tails, MSPs have been warned.

Holly Lee, of the Scottish Kennel Club, claimed that in Sweden there had been a 23% rise in the number of dogs who have had to have the end of their tail cut off because it had been damaged. "If a dog does injure its tail it will be very painful, they will suffer pain from the injury and also from the docking,” she claimed.

However, Chris Laurence, the veterinary director of the Dogs Trust argued that where docking had been banned, vets were not calling for it to be re-introduced to prevent tail injuries. "I know of no professional body in a country which has had docking banned that is clamouring to have that reversed," he said.

Both were giving evidence to MSPs on Holyrood's Environment Committee, which is considering the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Bill.

As part of that, ministers have put forward proposals to ban the docking of puppies' tails. They do, however, intend to make an exception for animals such as gun dogs who will be working in thick undergrowth as they risk injuring their tails. The Dogs Trust want to see a total ban on the practice.