The Pets’n’Vets Family criticises the Scottish Government decision to lift blanket ban on tail docking

The Pets’n’Vets Family network of veterinary practices with surgeries around Glasgow and surrounding areas has criticised the Scottish Government’s decision to lift the blanket ban on tail docking, stating: “As a practice which strives to provide great veterinary care in the best interest of our patients, underpinned by Evidence Based Veterinary Medicine, we have great difficulty in understanding this retrograde Scottish Government decision.”

pup and ross

Partner Ross Allan, the 2017 BSAVA Melton Award winner for contributions to small animal practice further explained: “We strongly feel that docking of the tail prophylactically does not and cannot fit with the dog loving ethos of our practice.

“Tails are important for communication and balance and removing them by docking involves the cutting or crushing of muscle, nerves and bone without anaesthetic. Considering this when there is strong evidence indicating that this out-dated practice inflicts significant pain on puppies is abhorrent.”

The Scottish Government introduced the outright ban as part of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. The amendment introduces exemptions for spaniels and hunt point retrieve breeds and will allow removal of the final third of the tail in puppies less than five days old if they are destined to enter working households. Ross explained: “There can be situations in which careful surgical removal of the tail is clinically justified and we take comprehensive steps to minimise the pain and discomfort this procedure can cause.

“The Scottish Government had previously led the way with a clear and unambiguous position on docking, but these changes will create confusion and are detrimental to animal health and welfare.”

Research commissioned by the Scottish Government suggests that up to 320 spaniel puppies would need to be docked to prevent one tail amputation. The prevalence of serious tail injury does not justify unnecessarily submitting hundreds of puppies to this painful procedure.


For further information please contact Ross Allan at tel 0141 649 4949

Issued on behalf of the Pets’n’Vets Family by Liquorice Media tel 0187 738 2961

Date: 28 June 2017

Notes to Editors

• The Pets’n’Vets Family is a collection of veterinary practices. Glasgow’s own vets, run by Glaswegians, it is a small and friendly partnership, with surgeries around Glasgow and surrounding areas.

• Because the Pets‘n’Vets Family is run by animal lovers, its vets understand just how special their pets are to their clients. It aims to offer the best local service, care and value with no gimmicks or tie-ins – just excellent vet care.

• The Pets‘n’Vets Family has been caring for Glasgow’s pets for over 40 years and its practices are all Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Accredited. To find your nearest practice visit