View from the Anti-Docking Alliance (UK)
Read what the Anti Docking Alliance UK has to say about the Swedish studies on tail docking -
"The Swedish Study, which unfortunately gets so much unworthy publicity, was not accepted by the Swedish Government and the statistics are questionable.
Numbers were added from the 1st into the 2nd year making it look a greater total. 12 dogs died during the study - slightly more questionable! GSPs were used for sledding - not a natural for the breed.
You may be interested to read the following from the Swedish Vet Assoc to the RSPCA. THE Welfare Committee of the SWEDISH VETERINARY ASSOCIATION has given its opinion on the consequences of banning tail docking of dogs in Sweden -
Tail docking of dogs in Sweden was prohibited in 1989, except for medical reasons. In 1995, a study of tail injuries in certain breeds of working dogs in Sweden was published by two authors from the Department of Surgery and Medicine at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Lagerstedt A-S and Ekesten B, 1995).
When the study was published, it was used to argue for a continued ban on tail docking. It shows that hunting dogs get tail injuries during hunts, and that there are differences between breeds. The conclusion, however, was that the risk for tail injuries is more dependent on where, how often and how the dog is used for hunting, rather than what breed it is.
The breed differences that were noted were explained by a bias of interest from the reporting dog owners who wanted an exemption from the ban.
Partly based on this study, the Swedish Board of Agriculture decided not to allow any exemption from the existing ban.
The situation today (2007) is the same as in 1995. Tail docking of dogs is still prohibited, without any exceptions apart from for medical reasons. This ban is not questioned any more, and is defended by the veterinary profession in Sweden.
There have been no reports of any alarming increase in tail injuries in working dogs. On the contrary, the general feeling is that working dogs of the former tail docked breeds have become more used to handling their tails while working, resulting in a decrease of tail injuries (Lagerstedt A-S, personal message, 2007).
A general amputation of the right front leg of dogs will decrease the number of injuries on dogs' right front legs. The animal welfare benefit of keeping a healthy dog's right leg is, however, much higher than any injury-preventing amputation.
According to the Animal Welfare Committee of The Swedish Veterinary Association, the same applies for tail docking. Veterinarians in Sweden think that the few tail injuries that do occur are not an animal welfare problem compared to systematic tail docking of certain breeds.
They remain convinced that the ban is in the best interests of dogs' welfare. We are surprised to hear that England and Wales are planning to implement exemptions from the forthcoming ban, especially if those exemptions are said to be based on experiences from Sweden.
The opinion of the Swedish veterinary profession is that there are no valid motives to dock the tails of dogs, except for strictly medical reasons."
The Anti Docking Alliance (A.D.A.) works worldwide to end the practice of tail docking and ear cropping (dew claw removal by veterinarians only). Breeders and photos of undocked docked breeds, docked breed health information, what people say about docking can all be found at Anti Docking Alliance
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