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Last Updated: Monday, 16 October 2006, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Views wanted on animal mutilation
Lamb having tail docked
The consultation covers procedures such as tail docking
Opinions are being sought on plans to ban acts of animal mutilation in Scotland under new laws which came into force earlier this month.

The consultation will cover issues including castrations, ear tagging, tail docking and branding.

It follows the introduction of the Animal Health and Welfare Act which gives animals more protection.

The consultation will be sent to about 3,000 groups with an interest in animal welfare and will close on 5 January.

The new act established a duty of care for animal owners and introduced a maximum prison sentence of 12 months and fines of up to 20,000 for anyone guilty of causing unnecessary suffering.

This consultation is an important opportunity for mutilations to be re-assessed on a case-by-case basis
Libby Anderson
Advocates for Animals

Animal Welfare Minister Ross Finnie said: "The consultation paper lists a number of procedures which we believe need to be permitted in order for normal farm animal husbandry to take place.

"No provision has been made to allow for the tail docking of puppies.

"I recognise that this has provoked a strong reaction and I would encourage those who believe they have evidence to support exemptions to take part in the consultation."

Procedures are carried out on farmed animals, working animals, animals used in sport and entertainment and pets.

They include castration, tail docking, de-horning, branding, tattooing, ear tagging, de-clawing and nose ringing.

Scottish poll

Edinburgh-based lobby group Advocates for Animals commissioned a Scottish poll of which there were 1036 respondents.

It found that that nine out of 10 people surveyed believed all or some such procedures should be banned.

Less than one in 10 of those questioned thought that all procedures should be allowed to continue.

Spokeswoman Libby Anderson said: "This consultation is an important opportunity for each of the currently practised mutilations to be re-assessed on a case-by-case basis.

"Such a re-assessment should cover the latest scientific evidence of pain, distress or disability caused to the animal and alternative solutions to the problems the mutilations were intended to solve."

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15 Mar 06 |  UK Politics
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10 Mar 06 |  Scotland
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23 Feb 06 |  Scotland

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