Docking dogs’ tails is on the Assembly’s agenda this week as MLAs debate the Welfare of Animals Bill. If the Bill becomes law, it will prevent tail docking, with exemptions for working dogs. This is being done to improve the welfare of dogs.
The removal of dogs’ tails has traditionally been carried out for reasons such as to prevent injury to working dogs; hygiene reasons; or to protect breed standards.
Carrying out cosmetic tail docking does not enhance the welfare of the dog and the legislation contained in the Bill will make it illegal to do so.
What is also important in the proposed new legislation is that it will affect showdogs. The Bill will stop dogs with docked tails being eligible for entry into dog shows, as is already the case in England and Wales. Although dogs which have had their tails docked before the law passes can continue to be shown for the duration of the dog’s show life.
Docking was banned in England and Wales by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and in Scotland by the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
Other countries where docking is banned: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, the Virgin Islands.