Scottish Environment and Rural Development Committee Report

The Scottish Environment and Rural Development Committee released its latest report on February 6th 2006 and it can be viewed in full here. Tail docking is dealt with from paragraph 150, a few exerts follow:

160. The Committee agrees with the Executive’s intention to prohibit the docking of dogs’ tails for cosmetic or breed standard purposes.

161. In principle, the Committee considers that the arguments advanced for prophylactic docking of working dogs’ tails do not apply consistently across all dogs which may be described as ‘working dogs’ and still owe a considerable amount to breed standards and tradition. The Committee considers that there are also very significant problems about how any exemption for working dogs may be formulated and applied in practice and heard a range of conflicting evidence on this issue.

162. As outlined in paragraphs 156 and 157 above, the Executive’s approach is to exempt by litter, and to put the onus of accountability on vets (who may be required to make a judgement on the basis of insufficient evidence). The Committee does not consider that this approach offers a sufficiently robust method of confining the exemption to genuine working dogs. It appears to have the potential to allow too wide an exclusion and may result in the intention of the provision being too easily undermined. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the Minister gives further consideration to whether this is necessary or workable.

166. The Committee accepts, in principle, that the Executive should proceed with legislation on tail-docking even if it differs in approach from that eventually agreed under the UK Bill.