Tail shortening

The SNP and Tories have worked together to revoke the ban on tail shortening in certain breeds of working dog. 61 in favour of lifting the ban and 57 against.

The Scottish Labour government instigated the ban on what most animal welfare charities agree is a cruel, disproportionate, and very painful procedure carried out on puppies only days old.

This process involves the cutting through or the crushing of skin, muscles, up to seven pairs of nerves, bone and cartilage in puppies under five days old – without anaesthetic.

There is evidence to show that shortening tails limits a dog’s ability to communicate or balance. There is also evidence to show that there is little proof required to show that the dogs whose tails are shortened will actually be used for work in later life.

There is no robust research into alternatives to tail shortening despite a decade of opportunity to conduct this. I also remain unconvinced that this procedure is proportionate in relation to the injuries which working dogs might sustain to un shortened tails in adult life.

Scottish Labour has repeatedly spoken out against reinstating this cruel procedure as part of its comprehensive package of animal welfare policies and will continue to do so.

Tail shortening has no place in civilised society and by voting to reintroduce it the SNP has set back the cause of animal welfare in Scotland.

Here are my comments at committee and my colleague MSP David Stewart’s speech prior to the vote.



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