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CCCQ View on Tail docking
The CCC(Q) position on the issue of tail docking
The following statement has been issued by the Australian National Kennel
Council and is the official position of the CCC(Q) and also of all other
Controls in Australia on the issue of tail docking.
The Australian National Kennel Council [ANKC] totally opposes any move to
ban the tail docking of some breeds of purebred dogs.
Opponents of tail docking now claim that it is performed for cosmetic
reasons because their previous claims such as 'cruelty' cannot be
substantiated and fail in logic.
The ANKC rejects the claim that tail docking is carried out for cosmetic
reasons. Tail docking is a long established animal management practice based
upon injury prevention and health enhancement.
In the United Kingdom 64 practising and experienced veterinarians have
publicly opposed any move to ban tail docking and a further 37 have
committed to the opposition. They have done so due to their belief that
docking does serve a useful purpose, that their experience has shown docked
puppies experience no adverse effects, and that the opposition to docking is
not based on science and considered reason.
Tail docking is carried out by ANKC members strictly in accordance with a
Code of Practice that specifies which breeds may be docked; the reasons for
docking; the age limitations for docking; who may dock; and provides for
penalties for non compliance with the code. This Code was introduced with
the welfare of puppies foremost in mind.
Docking of puppies of breeds listed as docked breeds is not compulsory under
ANKC Rules, and the ANKC will vigorously defends its members right to choose
whether to dock or not dock.
Tail docking of specific breeds is based upon practical experience with
those breeds and the knowledge that the docking prevents injury and other
health issues. There is no scientific evidence to show that tail docking
harms a puppy in any way.
Governments and welfare agencies would do well to address the core issues
relating to animal welfare. Dogs do suffer through mismanagement, improper
breeding and overbreeding. Currently these essentially human problems are
addressed by the euthanasia of dogs and the mass neutering of dogs. The
welfare of dogs would be better served by programs aimed at the education of
The following letter was received from the Hon. H Palaszczuk MP, the
Queensland Minister for Primary Industries and Rural Communities in response
to correspondence from Mrs McMurtrie, CCC(Q) President. This letter explains
the Queensland Government's position on the issue.
30 April 2003
Ms Judith McMurtrie
Canine Control Council (Queensland)
Dear Ms McMurtrie
I refer to your letters of 17 March and 8 April 2003 concerning the ban on
the cosmetic tail docking of dogs.
Scientific evidence indicates that removing a dog's tail is painful.
Puppies' tails have a good nerve supply and removal involves cutting or
crushing skin, muscles, tendons, and sometimes bone or cartilage. The extent
of the pain is difficult to measure. In a survey amongst Queensland
veterinarians in 1996, seventy-six percent were opposed to the practice
because they believed it caused significant to severe pain. British
veterinarians have similar beliefs.
Under the Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (the Act), cruelty
is defined as causing an animal pain that, in circumstances, is
unjustifiable, unnecessary or unreasonable. Thus in a legal sense, whether
routine tail docking is cruel or not depends on whether the pain caused by
the procedure is justified, necessary and reasonable. It is considered that
cosmetic tail docking is not justified.
I am advised that consultation on the Act, which includes the tail docking
provisions, occurred over many years and included a green paper for public
consultation. Consultation meetings occurred in 1997 with key animal user
groups, animal welfare organisations, professional organisations and
government departments including the Canine Control Council (Queensland),
A final consultation draft was provided in confidence to a number of key
groups, government and non-government in early October 2000 to allow them to
examine the entire Bill in detail and discuss any concerns. The CCC(Q)
endorsed the thrust of the then draft Bill.* The CCC(Q) did however,
recommend that the Australian National Kennel Council Code of Practice for
tail docking form the basis of the regulation which would flow from section
26 of the Bill, now section 24 under the Act.**
The Primary Industries Ministerial Council (PIMC) met on 10 April 2003 to
discuss a national coordination of the ban on routine tail docking of dogs.
The Ministers noted that some jurisdictions have proceeded or will proceed,
with implementation by
1 December 2003 of the necessary legislative mechanisms to enact a ban.
Other jurisdictions are considering their positions. PIMC agreed to seek to
finalise a national position on this issue by 30 June 2003. The Minister
intends to proceed with the implementation of the ban in Queensland and will
continue to advocate a national ban.
This will mean that any person may legally dock a dog's tail in Queensland
until midnight on 25 October 2003. After midnight on 25 October 2003,
section 24 of the Act will automatically commence and it will be illegal for
a person to cosmetically dock the tail of any dog in Queensland.
As you would be aware tail docking is not a mandatory requirement of any
breed standard recognised by the Australian National Kennel Council. The
Breed standard allows tails to be left in a natural state for judging
Veterinarian would be permitted to remove damaged or diseased tails where
the veterinarian reasonably considers that the docking is in the interests
of the dog's welfare.
Thanking you for bringing this matter to my attention.
Henry Palaszczuk MP
Minister for Primary Industries
And Rural Communities
"Send Seek Find"
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