BASC urges Scottish government to act on tail-docking ban

BASC is urging the newly-elected Scottish government to show it cares about animal welfare by ending the nine-year ban on tail-docking.

BASC Scotland insists restrictions on working gundogs imposed in 2007 have no basis on welfare grounds or in science.

BASC submitted a response to an official consultation which closed last week, but now wants a quick resolution to an issue which has plagued working dog owners and breeders in Scotland.

Dr Colin Shedden, BASC’s Scotland director, said: “BASC has been lobbying for the reinstatement of tail-docking for working gundogs since 2007.

“When the ban was first imposed, government said that if it compromised welfare, then it would review the position. BASC believes the welfare of working dogs has, in fact, been compromised and must now be addressed as a matter of urgency. With the elections out the way, there is little reason for further delay.”

Tail-docking, illegal in Scotland since 2007, is permitted elsewhere in the UK for certified working dogs. Scottish legislators are considering plans to permit limited exemption tail docking by vets for spaniels and hunt, point, retrievers as a way of preventing tail-tip injuries.

BASC agrees with evidence from peer-reviewed studies which confirm mild trauma associated with the docking of the tail outweighs the suffering if injury occurs in the field. The UK’s largest shooting organisation also supports Glasgow University research that there is no benefit to extending tail-docking by more than a third of the puppy’s tail.

In fighting for an end to the ban, BASC has highlighted the unintended consequences of the continued restrictions.

Dr Shedden added: “Since the ban, those wishing to continue using these breeds in Scotland have had two choices – run the risk of your undocked dog injuring its tail while working, potentially leading to surgical removal of the whole tail, or source your docked dog from England or Wales.

“The latter option has been chosen by many, resulting in loss of income and the end of certain pedigree lines for breeders in Scotland. That is a crying shame.”

For more information, please contact BASC's press office on 01244 573007 or email