Representatives of the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), will today give evidence to the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on both the Dog (Amendment) Bill and the Welfare of Animals Bill, both of which could have consequences for working dogs and their owners.
BASC is opposed to a proposed increase in the cost of dog licences and the introduction of compulsory micro-chipping in Northern Ireland. The proposals are contained in the Dog (Amendment) Bill. BASC will also argue for an exemption for working dogs from a proposed blanket ban on tail docking, contained within the Welfare of Animals Bill.
BASC head of game and gamekeeping Tom Blades will support Tommy Mayne of BASC Northern Ireland in the crucial evidence sessions.
Tommy Mayne said: “The plans to increase the cost of dog licensing and introduce compulsory micro-chipping may be well-intentioned and are aimed at reducing the problem of urban strays. However they amount to little more than a dog tax on law-abiding dog owners. Gundogs are essential in the shooting field in order to ensure quarry is retrieved and dispatched quickly. Gundog handlers who own and use several animals will be hit hard if the proposals are passed.”
“We are also seeking an exemption for working dogs from a blanket ban on tail docking. Some working dogs are prone to painful and debilitating tail injuries sustained whilst working in dense cover. Allowing vets to dock the tails of working gundog puppies is beneficial to the long term welfare of the animal. We are supported in our position by the Ulster Farmers Union.”