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The Evidence on Dog Tail Docking Pain

The Evidence on Dog Tail Docking Pain.

The Independent newspaper (UK) issued an article today 16/2/05 in which it quotes Professor Dan Weary, from the University of British Columbia. He argues that conventional husbandry methods should be rethought on the basis of the animals' reactions. In one experiment, half the male piglets on a farm were castrated and the other half were handled as if they were going to be. Only the pigs who were castrated made high-pitched squeals, and only at the time of the castration. Some farmers believe that the younger the animal, the less painful the operation, but these pigs squealed no matter what age they were. The experiment indicates that animals’ calls are a good way of assessing their actual pain, rather than the expectation of pain.

The Council of Docked Breeds press release quotes Prof. Hales as saying that there is no science to back the opposing views. Interestingly, Prof. Hales has omitted to quote any scientifically accepted references of his own (if any) authenticated research on pain; may be it was not one of the fields in which he was involved?

There surely can be no ethical or humane reason why the training of a Vet should permit the infliction of injury or cause unnecessary suffering on an animal, especially without anaesthesia and, for nothing other than cosmetic benefit to a breeder. It has come to the attention of A.D.A. that an Australian breeder of a giant breed flew 2 bitches heavily in whelp to Darwin to a Vet who was apparently willing to dock the litters. The bitches and their litters then spent 6 days on the journey home in a campervan (during which time we believe that one puppy died). One has to ask whether the welfare of this breeder’s animals was of less concern to him than having their tails chopped off by one of the few Veterinary Surgeons prepared to risk disciplinary measures in a country where docking is supposedly banned.

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