The Campaign Against the Docking of Dogs'
Tails (and ear cropping)
Our Mission Statement
The Anti-Docking Alliance (A.D.A. - UK and now worldwide) was formed in 2000 to press for a complete ban on non-therapeutic tail-docking in dogs, i.e. any docking that is not to treat a disease or injury for which amputation of the dog's tail would be the best treatment.
The ADA is run as an unincorporated association by a small committee of volunteers, together with an honorary committee.
The docking of dogs'
tails in only certain breeds has been considered a tradition. Many reasons have been cited for docking dogs' tails (such as rabies prevention;
to avoid a dog tax for working dogs; to stop dogs being able to turn direction
quickly; to prevent injury) but the most plausible and likely one is that
There are about 60 breeds of dogs that were being docked in the UK prior to April 2007 when a ban was put in place; mainly puppies of breeders who exhibit in the show ring .
The previous UK law (amended 1991) made it illegal for a "lay" person - that included breeders (i.e. someone who is not a Veterinary Surgeon) to dock puppies' tails. A Veterinarian could only dock for 'therapeutic or truly prophylactic (preventative) reasons.
In 2004, 88,600+ puppies of the docked breeds were registered by the UK Kennel Club; despite the RCVS's ethical stance only a very small proportion of these would not have been docked. The Kennel Club did not bring in tail standards for the docked breeds when the 1993 ban on docking by lay persons came into force. They only did so when dogs from countries where docking is banned were able to come (without quarantine) to compete in the UK as a result of the Pet Passport legislation (2001).
The Anti-Docking Alliance was formed because it was evident that the practice of docking dogs' tails had not ceased as was hoped would be the result of the 1991 revised Law. At about this time the Council of/for Docked Breeds was created opposing any change in the custom of docking these breeds. They maintained that it is a welfare issue and that breeders should be able to choose to dock these breeds.
A.D.A. maintained that these breeds were currently being mutilated solely for cosmetic reasons. On this basis that it was a welfare issue. One could not say that a whole litter of puppies of only certain breeds were being docked for prophylactic reasons. There was no reason to suppose that any one of those puppies might have had a tail/leg/ear injury later in life for which an appendage needed to be chopped off at such an early age (3 to 5 days) just in case!
(Imagine a Labrador puppy without its tail). In their first few days of life these puppies who were being docked had a statistic of 100% tail injury.
Therapeutic docking is perfectly acceptable as it is assumed that this would only be done if there were a disease or an injury sustained which cannot be treated or repaired by other than amputation under anaesthetic. Docking has been performed either by elastic banding (the tail rots away until it drops off) and is prone to gangrene, infection, complications, death and is not free from pain. (see comments on this at What People Say About Docking. Or, the other method more commonly used by Vets. who still dock is usually performed without anaesthetic and is done by cutting and possible stitching. This method is also painful and can lead to infection, haemorrhage and death. (see Wansbrough
and AWSELVA - Pain)