BASC Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Government’s pledge on tail shortening, announced today as part of a package of measures designed to improve animal welfare.

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, confirmed the Scottish Government will lay legislation permitting vets to shorten the tails of spaniels and hunt point retrievers intended for use as working dogs to reduce the number of tail injuries suffered.

The legislation will have to be voted on and there is no immediate change in the law.

Dr Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said: “BASC has been campaigning for a change in the law for 10 years since tail docking was banned in Scotland.

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to address this ongoing animal welfare issue. A small simple procedure at an early age will prevent significant and unnecessary pain and suffering from tail injuries in adult working dogs.

“Apart from lobbying by BASC Scotland and many other individuals whose dogs have suffered over the last 10 years there have also been two Scottish Government funded research projects, the most recent one that focussed on Scottish working dogs clearly demonstrated increased suffering due to the absence of prophylactic tail shortening.”

Alan Marshall, a vet and a member of BASC’s Scottish committee, said: “Many vets in rural Scotland will have seen an increase in tail damage particularly in working cocker and springer spaniels, and the hunt-point-retrieve breeds over the past decade. In addition we are also aware of many bitches from these breeds travelling south of the border to permit legal tail docking, or the pups destined for gundog work arrive with a tail docking certificate from England. We look forward to the Scottish Government ending this anomaly, improving the welfare of these working dogs, and reintroducing tail docking under tightly controlled conditions, for certain breeds or types of working dog.”

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