Keep the Ban on Tail Docking for Working Dogs

Update 5th March 2014

Dear Mr xxxxxxxxxxx,

Thank you for your email, which was received by Public Information and Publications at the Scottish Parliament. We provide impartial information about the Scottish Parliament, its membership, business and procedures.As an impartial information service, we cannot comment on any opinions expressed. However, the following may be of use to you.

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A petition calling on the Scottish government to reverse a ban on tail docking for working dogs is due to be submitted at Holyrood later. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26344573

A puppy just as many living creature has a nervous system so it is able to properly perceive pain. While a puppy may not necessarily squeal or vocalize from pain during a tail dock (even though most do) there are other ''tell tail signs' known as biological markers that can suggest pain and even lots of it. Ignoring these signs is unacceptable in today's modern society, featuring advanced empathetic veterinary care, especially when carried out for cosmetic purposes.

Tail Docking – Harmless Cosmetic Procedure or Animal Cruelty? http://saskwheaten.com/docking1.htm

One must consider as well that tail docking also comes with a good array of considerable complications. Infections may follow or even worse extensive bleeding and death. If we think that risks from such complications could arise for the sole purpose of pleasing a client, it is understandable why more and more vets are refusing the procedure, while on the other hand, more and more breeders are taking over the task using rubber bands and knives in an un-sterile environment.. http://alexadry.hubpages.com/hub/Dog-tail-docking

If we look at the history of tail docking and ear cropping (another inhumane and unnecessary procedure ) we will notice that both procedures took place in the past as means of protection in working dog breeds. In other words, tails or ear portions were removed because they often were injured and even torn while hunting or working in the field. In fighting dogs, these body parts were snipped off to prevent the opponent dog from using them as "grips".These protective measures could have been valid centuries ago, but nowadays, with the majority of dogs kept as pets, these practices are totally out of place.

Studies Reveal Tail Docking in Puppies is Painful http://alexadry.hubpages.com/hub/Studies-Reveal-Tail-Docking-in-Puppies-is-Painful

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) reports that tail docking is a painful procedure and that puppies have a fully developed nervous system, and therefore, are fully capable of feeling pain.

A puppy's whimpering and ''escape response'' should, therefore, be sufficient to indicate an intense level of pain. However, veterinarian Robert Wansbrough further points out that lack of showing signs of suffering in some puppies should not be automatically translated as lack of pain.

Please send a message to the Scottish Parliament urging them to Keep the Ban on Tail Docking for Working Dogs.

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to Keep the Ban on Tail Docking for Working Dogs. A petition calling on the Scottish government to reverse a ban on tail docking for working dogs is due to be submitted at Holyrood later. The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said Alex Salmond promised such a move if it could be backed up by evidence. We the undersigned strongly urge you to reject this claim and any evidence submitted to you by the SGA.


The docking of dogs' tails was banned in Scotland in 2007. There is also a ban in England and Wales. There has been common belief for many years, that docking a three-day old puppy's tail was a painless procedure due to the puppy's immature nervous system. This justification derived from the belief that as altricial species, day-old puppies would not feel pain due to lack of mielinization. A puppy's whimpering and ''escape response'' should, therefore, be sufficient to indicate an intense level of pain. However, veterinarian Robert Wansbrough further points out that lack of showing signs of suffering in some puppies should not be automatically translated as lack of pain. One must consider as well that tail docking also comes with a good array of considerable complications. Infections may follow or even worse extensive bleeding and death.


If we think that risks from such complications could arise for the sole purpose of pleasing a client, it is understandable why more and more vets are refusing the procedure, while on the other hand, more and more breeders are taking over the task using rubber bands and knives in an un-sterile environment. Once again we the undersigned strongly urge you to reject the petition from the Scottish Gamekeepers Association to reverse a ban on tail docking for working dogs.


We thank you for your time and attention in this matter.


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