Tail Docking Practice Banned By British Columbia Veterinarians

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It’s controversial, banned, and condemned as a practice by many countries and many veterinarian organizations: tail docking and alteration of dogs (like ear cropping) for cosmetic purposes. Now, The College of Veterinarians of British Columbia (CVBC) have joined in the voices that say tail docking goes against the ethical responsibility veterinarians have to animals.

Over 91 percent of the College’s members voted to ban the practice of docking dogs for cosmetic purposes, and now British Columbia joins Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador as well as Quebec in banning the practice and making it a criminal offense.The college already had voted to ban the popular, though also controversial practice of ear cropping last year.

Related: Cutting It Short: The Basics About Tail Docking In Dogs

College President Dr. Brendan Matthews said that this vote shows the commitment to advanced animal welfare in the British Columbia province. The CVBC says that not only is there no scientific evidence that supports a medical or welfare benefit for tail docking, but that there is evidence that shows there could be a detrimental effect on the animal’s behavior and communication. More, tail docking puts the animal at increased risk for phantom pain and infection.

Tail docking was originally done because the prevailing thought was that it prevented injuries in working dogs, but through the years, grew into a cosmetic procedure. Sadly, though, many kennel clubs and breed associations don’t agree that the practice is mostly done for cosmetic reasoning and claim concern that the ban against docking will denigrate the inherent and historical character and quality of certain breeds.

Related: Tall Tails: Interesting Facts About Dog Tails

Dr. Matthews says that veterinarians who continue the practice of docking will receive disciplinary actions from the college, and The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act already gives the British Columbia SPCA authority to investigate and recommend charges against any person, including licensed vets who continue to dock tails and crop ears without medical justification.