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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 13:49 GMT
Campaign against dog tail docking
Alexis Lacy and MSP Eleanor Scott with campaign mascot
Alexis Lacy and MSP Eleanor Scott with campaign mascot
A campaign opposing the practice of docking puppies' tails has got under way in the Highlands.

Advocates for Animals were in Inverness to begin a Scotland-wide tour to gather public support for an end to the shortening of dogs' tails.

MSPs unanimously endorsed the general principles of the Animal Health and Welfare Bill, which includes a total ban on docking, in February.

But there are arguments for working dogs to be made exempt.

Advocates for Animals will be in Inverness on Friday and Saturday before moving on to Aberdeen, Perth, Dundee, Edinburgh, Dumfries, Ayr and Glasgow.

Campaigner Alexis Lacy said: "All dogs are born with tails and they are born with tails for a reason.

Elastic band

"The dogs you see without tails have had their tails docked. It involves the crushing and severing of the tail from the body using an elastic band, nail clippers or scissors.

"This is done mainly for cosmetic reasons because breeders and people who show their dogs believe that dogs look better."

She added: "This of course is completely unjustifiable and been going on for far, far too long."

Ms Lacy said there were calls to exempt working dogs such as spaniels and terriers from the ban to prevent the dog being injured while working in rough terrain.

But she said: "You wouldn't remove a dog's paw because you thought it might be injured later in life."

Eleanor Scott, Green MSP for Highlands and Islands, was in Inverness to back the campaign.

She said: "I've looked at all the evidence that the evironment and rural development committee took on this issue of tail docking and on balance I think the right decision is the one the Scottish Executive seems to be going with, which is to have a complete ban."

Those who have working dogs are fully aware of the actual effect of not having a tail docked
Davey Thomson

Countryside organisation the Scottish Gamekeepers Association condemned the campaign.

They said that banning the practice of tail shortening of puppies destined for working lives would leave them vulnerable to unnecessary pain and stress.

Association vice chairman Davey Thomson, who lives near Inverness, said: "Those who have working dogs are fully aware of the actual effect of not having a tail docked.

"It is a real, genuine problem not just a cosmetic fad. Of course the evidence of damaged tails in working dogs is rare - all breeds at risk of tail damage are already docked."

Tail docking ban backed by MSPs
23 Feb 06 |  Scotland
Concerns raised over tail docking
21 Dec 05 |  Scotland

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