Scottish Government to consider law on docking of dog’s tails

The Scottish government is considering relaxing the ban on the docking of dog’s tails.


The move follows complaints the existing legislation is flawed and needs to be changed.

Since the law took effect in April 2007, opponents have been arguing for an exemption for working dogs like spaniels and hunt point retrievers.
Scottish ministers will consult on the issue in the new year after new research by the University of Glasgow.

The study said docking the tails of working dog puppies could significantly cut their risk of injury by the time they are adults.

The government said if a change in the law was implemented, vets would be able to use their judgement to decide whether tail docking was in the best interest of the puppy in certain circumstances in line with the law in the rest of the UK.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Scotland has a fantastic reputation for its animal welfare record and has some of the highest welfare standards in the world.

“But the issue of tail docking is one that divides opinion because nobody wants to see a dog suffer avoidable harm at any point in its life.

“Despite the ban on tail docking being in place since 2007, some stakeholders have continued to make the case to me that it is possible to bring forward a tightly defined exemption to the ban that would permit certain breeds of working dogs to be docked.

“I think it is therefore right that the government hears the views of all those with an interest on how any proposed exemptions for specific breeds – likely to be spaniels and hunt point retrievers – could work in practice.

“The consultation will therefore give everyone a chance to have their say and help inform us the best way to take this issue forward.”

At the moment, the only time a dog’s tail can be docked legally in Scotland is for veterinary treatment for an injured or diseased tail.

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