‘Legislation on tail-docking and dog-fighting inadequate’
The UK's largest dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust, has welcomed the introduction of the Animal Welfare Bill, which had its second Reading in Parliament on January 10th.
The charity supports the main concepts of the Bill, in particular the Duty of Care which makes responsible ownership a legal entity, and greatly welcomes the intention to regulate the sale of dogs over the internet, but warns that the proposed legislation falls short in key areas.
Dogs Trust has called for a total ban on tail-docking for any reason other than for therapeutic purposes, and is urging the government to include an unequivocal ban on the face of the bill.
The charity also demands stronger proposals to stamp out all dog-fighting, and demands that any activity connected with fighting, whether possession of equipment, attending a fight, making a record in any medium of a dog-fight, or selling or possessing such records, be an offence. This would mirror existing law on child pornography.
Clarissa Baldwin, Dogs Trust Chief Executive, says:
"We have high hopes that the long awaited Animal Welfare Bill, particularly the duty of care, will provide a much greater protection to the 6.5 million dogs in the UK."
Chris Laurence, Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, says:
"While the Animal Welfare Bill brings a lot of good news, the legislation as it stands could allow the cruel practice of tail-docking to continue. There is overwhelming evidence that docking dogs' tails is unnecessary, causes pain and suffering, and deprives them of a natural form of canine expression. For a country that professes to abhor animal cruelty, it is shocking that this mutilation is allowed to continue for wholly cosmetic reasons.
"It will also be a major step backwards if we don't seize this opportunity to make dog-fighting a thing of the past. It is universally accepted that it is a truly horrific practice, so we are amazed that the government has watered down its original proposals on this."