Ruskell highlights warning from vets over dog tail docking
Mark Ruskell MSP, Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (30 May) highlighted the warning from vets of Scottish Ministers' "retrograde step" of allowing healthy puppies' tails to be amputated.
A ban on tail docking in Scotland has been in place for a decade, with Mr Ruskell one the leading proponents of a ban when the issue was debated in the 2003-07 session of the Scottish Parliament.
Scottish Ministers' plans to relax the ban came under scrutiny at today's meeting of Holyrood's Environment Committee, of which Mr Ruskell is a member.
The Committee heard from vets and animal welfare experts, with the British Veterinary Association warning in its written evidence that "any concession would be a retrograde step for Scotland when prior to now it has always been cited as a key example of the Scottish lead on animal welfare."
The Dogs Trust said "puppies suffer unnecessary pain as a result of docking, and are deprived of a vital form of canine expression."
Mark Ruskell MSP said:
"Vets are right to describe this as a retrograde step. Scottish Ministers are seriously out of touch if they think this kind of animal cruelty is acceptable.
"Those who support this barbaric practice are stuck in the past. Vets and animal welfare experts are clear; tail docking has no sound scientific basis. The amputation of thousands of puppies' tails just to avoid a handful of amputations in adult dogs makes no sense whatsoever. If the shooting industry is concerned about tail injuries then there are many ways to avoid this without tail removal.
"Removing a puppy's tail can cause behavioural changes in the animal. It definitely causes pain. Scotland should be proud of the ban we've had in place for the past decade and we should keep it.
"It will be a real challenge for the Environment Secretary to justify her government's bizarre proposal and I look forward to her appearing before the Committee in two weeks' time."
Papers for Environment Committee, 30 May 2017