Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tail Docking - NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!


Happily showing off his 'curlie', Raaael is handsome BECAUSE of his tail...

National ban on cosmetic tail docking of dogs!
The RSPCA believes that cosmetic tail docking is a painful and totally unnecessary tradition and had long campaigned for ban on this cruel practice. In October 2003 the RSPCA’s call was heeded when the Primary Industries Ministerial Council agreed to implement a nationally coordinated ban on routine tail docking for non-therapeutic (cosmetic) reasons. The ban came into force nationally on 1 April 2004. Since that date it is illegal to dock dogs’ tails anywhere in Australia unless there is a medical reason behind the operation. Only a qualified veterinarian is permitted to carry out the surgery, in accordance with state and territory legislation.
Why is the RSPCA opposed to the cosmetic tail docking of dogs?
Puppies' tails are docked at around 2-5 days of age using a pair of scissors or a very tight rubber band. Until the national ban was implemented in April 2004 there were many areas in Australia tail docking did not have to be carried out by a veterinary surgeon - anyone classed as an 'experienced breeder' could cut off their puppies' tails themselves. No anaesthetic was usually used even though the cut goes through highly sensitive nerves. Many veterinarians oppose the procedure on the grounds that it is 'cruel, painful and unnecessary’.
Tail docking is painful
Advocates of tail docking claim that it does not cause pain or discomfort, as the nervous system of puppies is not fully developed. This is not the case. The basic nervous system of a dog is fully developed at birth and the available evidence indicates that puppies have similar, if not increased, sensitivity to pain as adult dogs. Docking a puppy's tail involves cutting through muscles, tendons, up to seven pairs of highly sensitive nerves and severing bone and cartilage connections. Tail docking is usually carried out without any anaesthesia. Puppies give repeated intense shrieking vocalisations the moment the tail is cut off and during stitching of the wound, indicating that they experience substantial pain. Inflammation and damage to the tissues also cause ongoing pain while the wound heals.
Is it legal in other countries?
Cosmetic tail docking has also been banned in a number of countries including Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany and Denmark. Several other European countries including Cyprus, Greece, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Austria have also ratified a European Convention that prohibits the cosmetic docking of tails. In the United Kingdom tail docking can only be carried out by a registered veterinary surgeon. The practice is opposed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons which describes it as an 'unacceptable mutilation'.
A tradition of pain
There are over 70 breeds of dog that traditionally have their tails cut off a few days after birth. Many people think that dogs of docked breeds, which include Dobermans, Rottweilers, most terriers, spaniels, pointers and other gun dogs, are born with short tails - this is not true! The reason some breeds and not others are docked is simply because of the fashion set for that particular breed.
There are a rare few dogs of specific breed that may be born with a naturally short tail; some examples may be the Stumpy-tailed Cattledog, Boston Terrier or French Bulldog.
Furthermore, each breed had an arbitrary standard for where the tail should be cut off. These absurd rules include 'just above the hair markings on underside of tail' for the Australian Silky Terrier, or 'complete tail removal' for the Schipperke, or, for the Cocker Spaniel, where the tail is cut to be 'never too short nor too long as to interfere with merry action when working'!
Pro-docking claims
The few but vocal advocates of tail docking give a range of unconvincing explanations to defend their views. For instance, they say that some heavy coated breeds need to have their tails docked for hygiene reasons (even though many undocked breeds have thick coats and regular care is all that is necessary to maintain good hygiene).
Another 'explanation' is that docking prevents tail damage in hunting dogs. But most docked puppies are kept as family pets and are never used for hunting. And research has shown that docking does not reduce tail injury in the general dog population. Furthermore, many breeds of hunting dogs do not have docked tails, and the length of the tail in docked breeds varies according to the breed standard.
The excuses put forward to support tail docking are plainly unfounded. There is simply no excuse for continuing this painful tradition.
Why do some dogs still have docked tails?
You may still see adult dogs with docked tails, as the docking may have been performed before the ban was introduced. Don't ever buy a puppy with a docked tail. If you get a dog from a breeder, make sure that they do not dock tails. If you suspect that tail docking is still taking place, please phone your state or territory RSPCA.

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