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Scottish Parliament revoke tail docking law

The Scottish Parliament has decided to reintroduce tail docking for working dogs in Scotland.

Vets will now be allowed to shorten the tails of some working dogs.

Spaniels and hunt point retrievers will now be allowed to have the final third of the tail removed, which ministers say are at increased risk of injury.

National pet charity Blue Cross has responded to the changes. It is shocked and saddened that the Scottish Parliament has voted to reintroduce tail docking for working dogs in Scotland.

The charity is disappointed to see the Scottish Government take a backwards step and weaken the legislation on tail docking which has been in place since 2007.

Tail docking is an unnecessary and painful procedure and the ban had been a positive step in better protecting the welfare of working dogs in Scotland.

Blue Cross is fundamentally opposed to the docking of tails and fully supported the ban on the practice. The charity believes that no part of an animal should be removed unless absolutely necessary.

Puppies can suffer unnecessary pain from having their tails docked, and removing the tail also leaves them without the ability to express themselves and fully communicate.

In addition, a 2016 Blue Cross survey showed that 71 percent of the Scottish public believe that the ban on tail docking of puppies should be maintained.

It is disappointing that the government have chosen to disregard the opinion of the Scottish people as well as expert advice from both animal welfare organisations and veterinary bodies.

Becky Thwaites, head of public affairs, Blue Cross, said: “Blue Cross believes that the evidence against tail docking still greatly outweighs any evidence to support it. In our opinion, the number of dogs at risk of tail injuries is still not large enough to justify the tail docking of so many individuals, particularly when the procedure itself causes unnecessary pain.

“Blue Cross is disappointed that the Scottish Government has chosen to prioritise this issue over the other important animal welfare measures announced earlier this year including promises to review the breeding and sale of pets.”

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