A study has been published (part funded by DEFRA) that has proved that the ban on tail docking introduced in the Animal Welfare Act, is working against the welfare interests of dogs.
Among the 138,212 dogs seen by vets at the 52 practices during the study period, 281 were treated for tail injuries which could have been prevented if they had been docked at birth.
36% of tail injuries had occurred at home as a result of the dog knocking its tail against a wall, kennel wall or other household object. A further 17.5% were sustained outdoors, while 14.4% were caused by the tail being caught in a door. In 15 other causes were cited and in 16, the cause was unknown. Almost half of the injuries (44%) were recurrent. Amputation was required in about a third of the cases.
Only 35 of all owners said their dogs had had their tail docked and on the basis of their overall findings, the authors calculated that tail docking would reduce the risk of injury by 12%.
281 affected dogs out of 138,212 does not sound a lot, but a) it is 281 too many and b) 138,212 represents ALL dogs, not just dogs of previously docked breeds.
We hear talk of working dogs being able to be docked legally as they are not docked for “cosmetic” reasons, but the above figures show that more dogs injure their tails in the home than out working, so the “cosmetic” excuse just does not wash. Most of the previously docked breeds would still benefit from the simple procedure of docking by a professional at birth.
I implore you to re-examine the case for docking and to repeal the ban at the earliest opportunity.