All dogs are born with tails. Seems simple right? So why don’t some dogs have them? Dogs in New Zealand • 29% of New Zealand households own a dog* • 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 dogs. • It’s done purely for cosmetic reasons and tradition. 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. Yet. 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” However: • 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” However: • 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” However: • “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 www.tail-wagging-campaign.org.nz • Send the Minister an e-card in support of the ban. • Tweet your message via #tailwaggingcampaign • Spread the word on Facebook Because EVERY dog should have a tail to tell!