NEW RESEARCH contradicts the claim that vets are opposed to docking dogs’ tails. A survey has revealed that one in five Scottish vets will carry out the procedure and nearly a third of veterinary practices allow docking for the welfare of working gundogs.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) contacted 878 vets in Scotland and received 269 responses. This is believed to be the most comprehensive research to date on Scottish veterinary opinion regarding prophylactic tail shortening of working dogs; it seriously undermines the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons quoted position of being anti docking.
This research has been conducted in order to support a working dog exemption from a blanket ban on tail shortening under the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
BASC Scotland’s Development Officer, James Scott, said: ‘It is very useful, in the current climate, to know that there is so much veterinary support for the prophylactic tail shortening of working dogs. One of the most revealing aspects of this research has been that some 33% of Scotland’s vets have intimated that they would be prepared to shorten tails in future if a suitably worded working dog exemption was introduced to the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.’
He continued: ‘This research shows that veterinary opinion is divided, a fact that has been much overlooked during the passage of this legislation. It is also revealing that many respondents felt that there should be no discrepancies north and south of the border. In other words, if England has a working dog exemption, Scotland should too in order to secure consistent welfare benefits for working dogs.’
The Scottish Parliament will further consider tail shortening in a forthcoming consultation on secondary legislation under the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. It is unlikely that a ban, if that is the chosen route of the Scottish Executive, will be in place before March 2007.