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Anti-dockers slam KC’s stance

THE KENNEL CLUB’S recent claims made on the subject of a blanket ban on tail docking has sparked fierce rebuttals from parties opposed to the practice. The Anti-Docking Alliance has issued a statement condemning the Kennel Club for misleading individuals who may be unfamiliar with the practice.

The Anti-Docking Alliance says that it is of the opinion that the Kennel Club is being led by the Council of Docked Breeds into putting out information that is misleading in order to influence those not so well informed about the debate.

The KC’s statement that several members of Parliament at the Second Reading debate expressed a view that the status quo should remain intact, was correct, but that the majority of MPs were not of this opinion.

In a no-holds barred retort, the Alliance statement reads:

"The reference to Ed Vaizey's statement alluding to the Council of Docked Breeds' ‘veterinary’ sources were in fact from a professor who wrote a letter to the German Kennel Club in the 1950s, (Germany now has a docking ban in place); a professor whose expertise is in nutrition and who is editor and co-author of a known dog food encyclopedia; the third is a professor of physiology fronting the Council of Docked Breeds in Australia whose expertise is in thermo-regulation and who himself breeds a docked breed. Not one of these has published a recent peer reviewed scientific study on pain in tail docking of puppies.

"The Government's consultation period has been long and intensive and the Kennel Club's arguments do not hold water. Any Body that wishes to ban electric shock collars but is happy to cut off puppies' tails does not truly understand welfare issues and may be they are the ones who should re-think the FACTS!

* MISLEADING FACT 1: Current legislation - Saying that a puppy is born at a different stage of development to humans and that their nervous systems are not fully developed until they are around 2 weeks of age is pseudo-science. Where is their recent peer reviewed evidence on this? There is none.

* MISLEADING FACT 2: Kennel Club Breed Standards - Breed Standards for undocked tails have not long been published in the customarily docked breeds (July 2001) Very few undocked docked dogs have gone on to have success in the show ring unless they are from abroad where a judge may have an eye on a future appointment being offered. To quote from the Council of Docked Breeds' own website: 'Meanwhile our ability to ensure that docked dogs continue to dominate in the shooting field, in the show ring and elsewhere has not been lost on those who are against us'. This evidence is damning in itself and shows that the KC has been totally uncommitted to righting these wrongs and is in fact, condoning them.

* MISLEADING FACT 3: Research from Countries that have banned docking - The German Short-haired Pointer Study referred to was one done for the Breed Council itself to try and overturn the Swedish ban - it was therefore self-interested and discredited! (and failed). The material in this document is open to criticism for the manner in which it was gathered. Figures of tail injuries from the first year have been added into the second year's totals. Twelve dogs under 3 years of age died during their data collections; a somewhat more fatal outcome than tail damage.

* MISLEADING FACT 4: Research in the UK - The "research", like that of the above "research" is not independent, has not been done in a required manner for scientific peer review. It misleadingly quotes percentage figures in their statements of injured undocked docked breed gundogs Out of the 2% quoted (i.e. a survey total of 13) tail injured dogs, how many necessitated amputation of the tail? None we ascertain, as without doubt, we would have been informed. What injuries were sustained in the remaining 98%? How many of the undocked gundog breeds (English Pointers, Labradors, Setters, Retrievers) had tail injuries? As a welfare issue were these dogs being required to work in a manner that endangers their welfare?

* MISLEADING FACT 5: Working Gundog exemption. To base their statistics on the Swedish German Pointer results (see 3 above - a discredited report) which appeared to use a rolling total as opposed to annual incidence is stretching credulity!

Pauline Baines, Founder of the Anti-Docking Alliance, says that 'the Kennel Club should dissolve its ties with the Council of Docked Breeds and its associates and not allow itself to be misled into disseminating distorted ‘facts’.

Breeders of docked breeds claim that they will come out of the breed if docking is banned then likewise these gun dog owners could work an undocked breed such as an English Pointer opposed to a German Pointer'."

The Kennel Club had urged ministers, including Ben Bradshaw, Parliamentary Secretary for DEFRA to review plans for a blanket ban on tail docking.