Tuesday, April 14, 2009


'He lays alert with toned body, watching for stray cows on his front lawn, long sleek tail laid out behind him!'

    Parliamentary Statement NSW

    Ms ALLAN
    (Wentworthville) [4.32 p.m.]: The important issue of the cosmetic tail docking of puppies and dogs is of grave concern to Mr Robert Wansbrough, who operates a successful veterinary surgery practice in my electorate, in Picasso Crescent, Old Toongabbie. Mr Wansbrough might even have treated a dog I used to have who foolishly one day got into a big box of the snail bait Defender and made himself a very sick puppy. For many years Mr Wansbrough has been involved in a campaign to ban the cosmetic tail docking of dogs. He has made a number of representations on this issue not only to the Government but also to his local member, the honourable member for The Hills, as well as to other Opposition members.

    Also, I have received a lengthy petition from my constituents who visit Mr Wansbrough in his veterinary surgery. On current medical and scientific information, tail docking simply cannot be justified. It has not been justified on medical grounds by people who have done it in the past, and Mr Wansbrough believes that it has never been and cannot be shown scientifically to benefit dogs in any way. Indeed, Mr Wansbrough has provided me with evidence that indicates that tail docking can be harmful to dogs, and in some cases fatal.

    The breeders and others who dock tails whom Mr Wansbrough has observed over many years have never disclosed how many puppies died from this practice. Tail docking has been with us for hundreds of years. It started in medieval times when dogs were taxed; working dogs did not incur the tax so their tails were cut off to show this. The middle and upper classes cut the tails off their dogs to avoid the tax. That is the history of the practice, but unfortunately it still remains in our society today.

    Tail docking involves severing the skin, muscles, cartilage, bone and nerves in a puppy's tail. It is done by cutting using scissors, knives, axes or bricks, or by crushing the tail, often with rubber bands. It is a barbaric practice. Between eight and 14 nerves in a puppy's tail are severed. Obviously, that inflicts huge pain on the puppy. The human finger has only two nerves, and we experience pain if we get a splinter in a finger or a finger is cut off. Imagine how magnified that pain is for a puppy when between eight and 14 nerves are being severed!

    Until recently current legislation permitted anyone to cut off a puppy's tail as long as the puppy was less than five days old. Obviously, this has driven Mr Wansbrough's campaign. Earlier today I had the opportunity to discuss this matter with the Minister for Agriculture, who has responsibility for animal welfare. The Minister indicated his sympathy for those who have been expressing concern and horror about this practice for some time. Mr Wansbrough met with the Minister in his Mount Druitt office on a previous occasion, and at that time the Minister expressed concern about the issue. The Minister has tightened the regulations so that it is extremely unlikely that a person will be able to dock a puppy's tail without the use of anaesthetic. Indeed, he has narrowed the regulations to such an extent that only two categories of people, including veterinary surgeons, are able to dock puppy tails.

    Obviously, this issue is of considerable concern to many people in the community. Mr Wansbrough would like the Parliament to have a conscience vote on the issue. Honourable members know that this matter is not coming before the Parliament in the near future in the form of legislation, and I do not think that opportunity will be provided. However, the Minister has given me an undertaking that he will have a fresh look at the evidence provided by Mr Wansbrough. I look forward to Mr Wansbrough getting satisfaction eventually from the relevant department. Certainly, I know the Minister is sympathetic to the issues raised by Mr Wansbrough. I congratulate Mr Wansbrough on conducting his campaign in such a persistent, thoughtful manner so that the matter is at last being raised.

1 comment:

  1. ...anyone who stills believe that the sphinx in Egypt is created with a lion as model ? Bah, anyone can see that it must be a Dobermann !=)


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