An advertising campaign launched by the Council of Docked Breeds (CDB) at last week’s Labour Party Conference in Brighton aims to put delegates on the spot over the government’s proposed Animal Welfare Bill.
Under the headline ‘Where are the Workers?’ a cute picture of a litter of two day old English Springer Spaniels is accompanied by a challenge for delegates to select the pups which will go on to become working dogs.
The advertisement, in the Labour Conference special edition of the parliamentary weekly The House Magazine, which is distributed to all conference delegates, highlights the fact that the government is proposing to allow working dogs to be docked by a veterinary surgeon, whilst the docking of all other dogs would be banned. It points out that docking is undertaken when puppies are just two days old, so it is when the litter is that age that the vet must decide which pups will go on to become workers.
“Of course it is an impossible decision for anyone to make in a two day pup,” says CDB secretary Ginette Elliot. “Nobody can assess whether a puppy is going to make a suitable working dog until its character and aptitude has started developing, and that might take weeks or months. We are simply highlighting the nonsense that lies behind this proposed legislation by inviting Labour politicians to understand the vet’s dilemma when the law forces him to make his selection at two days.”
The CDB then asks why, if it is acceptable to dock some puppies in the litter, it is not acceptable to dock the others?
“We point out in our advertisement that if it is carried out correctly, docking causes no pain or discomfort, that development or weight gain are not affected and neither are balance or communication in adulthood. The proposed docking ban is driven not by fact and evidence but by misplaced sentimentality and political correctness, and it should be dropped from the Bill altogether.
The CDB plans further advertising in the Parliamentary press to reinforce to MPs and their researchers during the Bill’s passage through Parliament.