MSPs to consider allowing tail docking in Scotland

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 12 May 2017 in News

Environment committee launches consultation on tail docking of working dogs

MSPs are set to consider whether to allow dogs to have their tails docked in Scotland, with the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee launching a public consultation to gather views.

The consultation, which will run until Thursday 1 June 2017, will gather views on allowing two breeds of working dogs – spaniels and hunt point retrievers – to have their tails removed by up to a third within five days of being born.

While there is currently an exemption on tail docking in England and Wales for certain working dogs if carried out by a vet, the Scottish Government banned tail docking in 2007.


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If changes to legislation are approved, puppies could have their tails shortened where a vet believes they are likely to be used as a working dog and are at risk of serious tail injury in later life.

Launching the consultation, Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee convener Graeme Dey MSP said: “Scotland is a country of dog lovers and we know that there are many people out there with strong views both for and against the shortening of working dogs’ tails.

“We’re keen to hear the thoughts of the public, interest groups and dog owners across Scotland on the specific provisions of the draft regulations to help us consider whether or not changes to tail docking laws should be made.

“For example, do you think the pain of docking is outweighed by more serious injuries or even tail amputation in later in life?  Or do you think this would cause undue distress and pain to a puppy? Tail wagging is also an important way for dogs to express themselves - could shortening impact on a dog’s ability to communicate with its owner?”

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