As many of you will know, the docking of working dogs is something of a hobby horse of mine. I believe it is vital for the welfare working dogs. A decision not to dock a puppy that potentially has a working life in front of it, is in my opinion, a decision based on ignorance and cruelty.
Docking has effectively been banned in Scotland since 2007, with a limited exemption allowable for a prescribed list of working dogs in England and Wales. Whilst docking in England and Wales still remains legal, it is increasingly difficult to find a vet who is willing to undertake the procedure. This in many ways is not surprising given the stance that is taken by the RCVS.
Docking is an emotive subject. It causes feelings to run high on both sides of the argument. Yet, there is a slew of evidence to support tail docking as a way of minimising traumatic tail injury. Numerous articles and research papers have been published on the subject; however, informed opinion still seems to be remarkably rare.
So it was with mixed feelings that I see that the Scottish Parliament has commissioned further research, this time in association with Glasgow University to look at the experience of working dogs in Scotland since the ban. Previous research undertaken with the University of Bristol, sponsored by the Scottish Parliament was far from satisfactory; hardly surprising when the body paying for the study has a vested interest in the outcome. So here we go again with another round of market research.... Alex Hogg from the Scottish Gamekeepers Association has been directly involved with this research and indeed it is due to the persistence of the SGA that further study has been undertaken.
I'm an admirer of the SGA – they get many things right most of the time and speak with a good deal of sense; more than can be said for some of our other representative bodies, but I'm afraid I have to say with this issue I'm at odds with them.
We don't need any more bloody market research! How many more times do we need to re-invent the wheel? It is a waste of time and money. This issue needs people on the street; protesting against this specious law. No doubt this "research" will take months to complete, cost a fortune and be as inconclusive as the last lot. It is a classic case of "the SGA are making a fuss about docking again. Let's give them a market research study – we can make it look like we are doing something, manipulate the results in our favour and shut them up for another couple of years....."
For herein is the thin end of the wedge, if you tolerate this........
Perhaps if the male members of the steering committee were made to crawl through heavy cover with their todgers hanging out, as suggested by a pro-docking friend of mine who is a vet, we may get a rapid change of opinion.....
For what it is worth.........