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Tail Waggin’ Party Monday 31 Jan, 12 noon, Parnell

Tail Waggin’ Party Monday 31 Jan, 12 noon, Parnell, Auckland

''Money will buy you a pretty good dog, but it won’t buy you the wag of its tail''.

Auckland, 25 January 2005 Auckland SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and NZVA (New Zealand Veterinary Association) are putting on a public ‘Tail Waggin’ Party’ on Auckland Anniversary Monday, 31 January 2005 at Thomas Bloodworth Park, Shore Road, Parnell, Auckland.

SPCA Chief Executive Officer, Bob Kerridge says, “the party is open to everyone but we especially want dogs with tails to bring their parents along and join in the fun”.

The SPCA is a strong supporter of Labour MP Dianne Yates’ private members bill currently before parliament that is calling for restrictions on current tail docking practices that are prevalent with certain breeds throughout New Zealand. In support of the dog’s tail, Kerridge says, “one of dogs” most beautiful attributes is the tail that they are born with. To destroy that most important part of their anatomy is not only cruel, but is also unnecessary and futile”.

Labour MP Dianne Yates was astonished to discover that Australia passed a bill on this issue in April 2004 suggesting that they were more “enlightened” than New Zealander’s on this issue. Yates’ private members bill has received opposition from some politicians who accuse Yates of ‘political correctness’. Likewise there is also a league of ‘pro docking’ people who claim their right for freedom of choice. Yates suggests that were the docked dogs able to comment she doubts they would suggest ‘ political correctness’ as a reason to retain their tails and most likely would exercise their freedom of choice to prevent their owners or breeders from removing this integral part of their anatomy.

Currently in New Zealand, many breeds such as Boxers, Dobermans, Weimeraners, and German Short-Haired Pointers are routinely tail docked at an early age. The New Zealand Veterinary Association and the SPCA oppose this surgical alteration to the natural state of animals except in the interest of the animal themselves where the tail has become injured or diseased.

New Zealand Veterinarian Association Animal Welfare Coordinator, Dr Virginia Williams BVSc, MACVS, Dip Prof Ethics, says, “ When the claimed benefits of docking are put alongside the costs to the dog in terms of pain and possible side effects, there is no question that we should not be allowing this procedure to be performed. Dr. Williams cites international scientific studies where the incidence of tail injury was monitored. An American study involving more than 12,000 dogs reported a tail injury incidence of only 0.4%. An Australian study of 2000 dogs reported 3 incidents of tail injury, all of which occurred following docking and not through natural injury. New Zealand vets echo these findings saying that tail injury in dogs occurs much less commonly than in cats for example. “We don’t remove other parts of animals in case they get injured,” says Dr Williams. “The argument that all dogs of particular breeds should be docked to prevent the few injuries that might occur, most of which can be easily fixed, flies in the face of logic.”

Tail docking restrictions such as those proposed in New Zealand are currently in place in an increasing number of countries that include the Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Israel and most recently Australia.


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