Tail docking ban in Scotland

BBC News reports that tail docking will be illegal in Scotland from the end of April 2007.

Ross Finnie, Scottish Animal Health and Welfare Minister, said:

“Tail docking of dogs involves the removal of most or part of the tail, severing muscles, tendons, nerves and sometimes bone or cartilage.

“That cannot be justified because of a possibility that the dog may injure its tail in later life.

“A ban on tail docking is not a step which we have taken lightly.”

Alex Hogg, Chairman of The Scottish Gamekeepers Association argued that not docking the tails of working dogs actually caused more harm:

“The minister has failed in his obligation to protect the welfare of our working dogs and condemned many breeds to a life of pain in his attempts to curry favour with animals rights activists.”

He added, rather menacingly:

“The countryside will not forget.”

The Conservative party suggested that the ban was against all reason but, last I heard, most members of all the UK’s political parties were without tails and so, probably, are unqualified to be quite so forthright on the issue.

So, tail docking: is it a cruel and arbitrary mutilation of a defenceless animal in order that they’re more convenient for human beings, or are we towny-animal-loving-workshy-do-gooders just making a fuss about nothing?