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Docking Apologists Sadly Mis-Informed

28 October 2004

Docking Apologists Sadly Mis-Informed

To compare circumcision with dog tail docking is not only exaggerated but uninformed.

Human circumcision involves only removal of skin tissue not the removal of the penis; it is done rightly or wrongly in the main for religious purposes. It is nothing akin to tail docking where there are bone, muscle, arteries, nerves and scent glands involved. If circumcision involved the removal of the penis then maybe there is an end product similarity! (Recently there has been disciplinary action taken in the USA where circumcision was performed without anaesthetic by doctors).

The death penalty used to be a “traditional” form of punishment but many democratic governments have now abolished it. Traditions are not set in stone and have to be revised along with superior knowledge and scientific learning. “Expert” Veterinary opinion to support docking is often found from those who breed, show or hunt docked breeds themselves and therefore could be said to have a vested interest.

Truly caring owners would not dock puppies as puppies can die as a result of docking. Many dogs suffer from phantom limb pain during their life following docking; others can suffer from incontinence both urinary and faecal. A vast majority are docked above their tail scent glands which are an important means of communication with other dogs. The tail itself is as much part of the dog’s communication as is the bark.

Hygiene and safety are spurious arguments. Hygiene and safety are all dependent on adequate husbandry . Sheep flocks are no longer those of Biblical times with a shepherd on site monitoring and guarding his flock and unfortunately husbandry in present day factory farming has meant that welfare short cuts have been taken.

The statistics may well show that fly strike appears in docked as well as undocked sheep as it can in dogs. Hill sheep are often left undocked. Barbed wire can take its toll on any part of an animal’s body not just its tail.

The passionate care breeders take with their breeds is an innovative step since there have been so many health problems in breeds when champion after champion with health problems has had successive matings and a poor gene pool has been multiplied. Puppy buyers through magazines are becoming much more aware of the care they should take when buying breeds with histories of bad hips, eyes, hearts, skin etc. and currently if they want to buy a “whole” dog and not a mutilated one they are being prevented from doing so.

For every breed that is docked there will be a similar breed that is not docked. To quote hygiene as a reason for docking some of these breeds is specious. The Bergamasco, Bearded Collie, Puli, Komondor are all heavily coated breeds which are not docked whereas The Old English Sheepdog and Polish Lowland Sheepdog are.

The Hungarian Vizsla is no longer docked in Hungary but is some countries. The Weimaraner is docked but the Dalmatian is not. The German Pointer is docked (no longer in Germany) but the English Pointer is not. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a docked breed but very few are now docked and therefore this is an example where a breed has changed their approach to tail docking.

The hypocrisy lies not within the proposed Bill but in the hearts and minds of those who support the CDB.


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