Reason 1: “It reduces tail injuries, especially in working dogs”

All dogs are born with tails.
Seems simple right?
So why don’t some dogs have
Dogs in New Zealand
• 29% of New Zealand households own a
• 77% of dog owners consider their dogs to
be members of the family
• 43% of dogs are acquired from breeders
*Companion Animals in New Zealand, July 2011
All dogs are born with tails!
• Have you ever seen a boxer, a rottweiler, a
schnauzer, or even a corgi with a tail?
• Have you ever given any thought to
whether a dog had a tail or even who
chose to remove it?
“43% of dogs in New Zealand are
acquired from breeders”
Why are they docked?
• In New Zealand, there is no good reason to
dock tails. It serves no beneficial purpose for
• It’s done purely for cosmetic reasons and
And it’s not without risk to the dog.
International bans
At least 33 countries around the world have
recognised this and have banned the procedure.
• the UK
• Scandinavia
• most of Europe
• our Australian neighbours
New Zealand is not one of these countries.
Banning docking in
New Zealand
• A goal of the NZVA and it’s Companion Animal
Society (CAS) for a number of years
• The last review of the Dog Code under the
Animal Welfare Act allowed for tails to be
docked by banding
• This means anyone can tie a rubber band
tightly around a puppy’s tail until it falls off
– provided the puppy is less than four
days old.
Banning docking in
New Zealand (contd)
• New Zealand’s vets were so opposed to this
that tail docking of puppies in ANY form,
unless for genuine medical reasons, was
declared a banned procedure for vets under
the Veterinary Code of Conduct.
• The only people docking puppies tails for
cosmetic purposes now are breeders.
Reasons breeders give to
continue docking tails
Reason 1: “It reduces tail injuries,
especially in working dogs”
• Research shows at least 100 tails need to be
docked to prevent ONE tail injury
• The majority of tail injuries do not need
amputation to fix
• Leg injuries are far more common than tail
injuries. Should we amputate limbs at birth?
• New Zealand’s main working dogs – Huntaways,
Collies, Labradors and German Shepherds
– have never been traditionally docked
Reason 2: “Hygiene and
disease prevention”
• Docking dogs tails isn’t like docking lambs - fly strike can kill!
• Hygiene issues can usually be prevented or resolved with a bath or
clipping the dog’s coat.
• Dogs are at risk of death at the time of the procedure
• Docked dogs are at risk of hernias and incontinence problems later
in life
• Because we allow docking, some overseas breeders (eg Australia)
are importing heavily pregnant bitches into New Zealand so the
puppies can be legally docked before sending them back.
– parasites carried are a potentially huge threat to biosecurity and
the New Zealand dog population
– risky for the pregnant bitch
Reason 3: “Tradition and
freedom of choice”
• “That’s the way they’ve always been” doesn’t
mean “That’s the way it has to be”
• Whose freedom of choice?
– not the dogs
– usually not even the new owners
Breeder logic
”Why would you stick a tail back on a
dog that’s not meant to have one?”
A Corgi breeder who was interviewed for TV3
It’s the 21st century and
times have changed.
Let’s ban this outdated procedure for
the sake of our canine companions.
Tail Wagging Campaign
The Animal Welfare Act (1999) is being
reviewed, and NZVA, CAS, the Royal New
Zealand SPCA and the New Zealand
Companion Animal Council (NZCAC)
are campaigning for the New Zealand
Government to ban docking dogs' tails
purely for cosmetic purposes.
Show your support
• Visit
• Send the Minister an e-card in support of the
• Tweet your message via #tailwaggingcampaign
• Spread the word on Facebook
Because EVERY dog
should have a
tail to tell!
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