Working dog docking exemption equals a total ban

The Government has issued Amendments to the Animal Welfare Bill to be considered when it receives its third reading on 14th March. On tail docking, the government is not offering their previously stated “preferred option” of the status quo, instead they are simply offering a complete ban or an exemption for certain working dogs.

Between 8th & 9th  March, the Council of Docked Breeds contacted 50 out of the 500+ veterinary surgeons who currently dock puppies for CDB members. They asked vets if they would continue to dock working dogs, if that is all an exemption allowed them to do. Only two agreed that they would be likely to, the remainder were convinced that the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons would increase their current pressure on them to stop docking completely. If only 20 vets in total are willing to continue docking under new regulations, legal docking will effectively be banned or driven underground into the hands of laypeople, which is against all animal welfare concerns.

If the RCVS has proof that a vet has docked a puppy, working or otherwise, the RCVS already takes them to a Disciplinary Hearing, accusing them of “disgraceful conduct” even though the vet has acted within the current law. One vet, who needs to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals from the RCVS said “If I am forced to sign any paperwork agreeing that I have docked a working litter under the proposed amendment, it could be the end of my career”.

“This opinion was voiced by most vets who told us they would cease docking altogether” said Ginette Elliott of the CDB who conducted the telephone survey, “they have been continuing to dock for our members perfectly legally but most expressed that they would stop the minute they have to issue documents which the RCVS could then use to end their livelihood.

Anybody thinking that an exemption for working dogs is a good compromise will be disappointed, as the result would be the same as a complete ban in reality or drive it underground into the hands of laypeople, which is against all animal welfare concerns. Quite how anybody can rightly understand that it is not cruel to dock a working dog, but then thinks it is cruel to continue docking any of the other currently docked breeds, is beyond me and the vets I spoke to” concluded Ginette Elliott.

The CDB is the only organisation that has been working in close contact with the majority of docking vets since 1991 and has fully gained their trust by offering complete confidentiality.