Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


“Where’s the evidence on dog tail docking?”

February 15, 2005

Media release from New Zealand Council for Docked Breeds

Professor Rebukes NZ Vets – “Where’s the evidence on dog tail docking?”

There is no scientific evidence that newborn puppies whose tails are docked by breeders using proper banding procedures, feel any real sensation, let alone pain, says the New Zealand Council of Docked Breeds. And plenty of evidence to show they do not.

And an eminent, recently retired, Professor in Veterinary Science (Sydney University) and Medicine (University of New South Wales) Bob Hales, has rebuked the New Zealand Veterinary Association for making unsubstantiated claims.

Professor Hales said it was time the New Zealand Veterinary Association stopped presenting anecdote as science.

“It’s fine for the Association to be opposed philosophically to docking but it is not fine for them to pretend there is science to back their views,” he said. “For example the one published scientific study of puppies the Association quotes is seriously flawed because there was no control observation made. Controls are a vital part of any good scientific observation.”

Council spokesperson Karen McIntyre said the pain and crying of puppies that the Veterinary Association anecdotes claimed was much more likely to be due to incompetent surgical procedures carried out by vets inexperienced at docking and where the newborn puppies had been taken from their mothers and thrust into unfamiliar surgery surroundings.

“New Zealand breeders with 30-years’ experience of properly banding newborn puppies will tell you they can often do it without even interrupting a pup’s feeding from its mother.”
Veterinary Association Should Know Better, says Professor Hales

Professor Hales said the Veterinary Association should know better than to come out with a string of unsubstantiated claims. “Where’s the scientific evidence?” he asked.

“The scientific view that puppies less than 10-days old are insufficiently developed in their nervous systems to feel pain in their tails is supported by: Professor Rudolf Fritsch (Head of Veterinary Surgery Clinic, Justus-Liebig University, Germany; Professor D. Grandjean, Veterinary School of Alfort, France and by myself.

“These are respected people and their views are based on robust studies. Unfortunately, the 2003 review paper referred to by the Association and authored by Bennett and Perini is not robust, uses much evidence not relevant to dogs and presents nothing new.

“In fact it uses much evidence not relevant to dogs; for example a study of lambs by Dr David Mellor. Lambs are born much more physiologically advanced and docking of lambs occurs some weeks after birth,” said Professor Hales.

“In my opinion, the authors referred to in the Bennett/Perini review are highly unlikely to have intended their discussion to be used in the way it currently is; that is, as an authoritative scientific document,” he said.

New Zealand Vets Unwilling to go Public

Professor Hales is supporting the Council in its submissions, opposing legislation banning dog tail docking, to a Parliamentary Select Committee.

Council spokesperson, Karen McIntyre said that there were also a number of New Zealand Vets who supported the Council’s position against a ban on tail-docking.

“Sadly they are unwilling to go public as the New Zealand Veterinary Association has made thinly veiled threats that mean members are more than a little inhibited,” she said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Supreme Court: Worksafe Decision On Whittall Pike River Prosecution Unlawful

The question in issue on the appeal was whether WorkSafe New Zealand acted to give effect to an unlawful agreement of this nature when it offered no evidence on charges against Peter William Whittall for breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992...

The Supreme Court... has found that the decision to offer no evidence was made under an unlawful agreement to stifle prosecution. It has granted a declaration to that effect. More>>


Cullen To Chair: Tax Working Group Terms Of Reference Announced

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash today announced the Terms of Reference for the Tax Working Group and that the Group will be chaired by Sir Michael Cullen. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>


Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>


Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election