Thursday 11 February 2016


The Scottish Gamekeepers Association has welcomed the decision by Scottish Government to consult on the possibility of tightly defined exemption from the tail docking ban for working Spaniels and Hunt Point Retrievers.
A Scottish Government-commissioned study by Glasgow University Veterinary School showed that, in one working season, Spaniels and HPRs which did not have a third of their tail removed were 15 to 20 times more likely to be injured in their work.
We would now encourage all members, owners with experience of this issue in Spaniels and HPRs and those with an interest in the welfare of these working dogs to share their views in the consultation which was published yesterday by Scottish Government.
The consultation will close on May 3rd. You can find all details here:

Should anyone require any assistance with completing the consultation, please contact the SGA office on 01738 587 515.

Welcoming the announcement SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: "Scottish Government commissioned research covering one working season (2011) showed that Spaniels and Hunt Point Retrievers (HPRs) whose tail tips were not shortened by one third were 15 to 20 times more likely to sustain a tail injury whilst working in thick undergrowth, bramble and forest.
“The possible exemption, as we understand it, would be targeted specifically at those animals that are in this proven high risk category, with a shortening of the tail by a vet in the first five days of a pup’s life being undertaken to protect those dogs from avoidable harm and suffering in later life.“Tail treatment in an adult dog, often resulting in amputation, can be complex, traumatic and prolonged and taking sensible steps to prevent this greater harm, we feel, should be part and parcel of responsible ownership of working Spaniels and HPRs. “The aforementioned research also showed, for example, that over 1 in 2 of the Spaniels in the study sustained a tail injury in the one working season (56 per cent). If a parent was told a medical treatment would prevent a one-in-two chance of their child from contracting a harmful condition in later life, taking this preventative action would be viewed as in the interest of the child’s wellbeing and we feel the welfare of these at-risk dogs deserves the same attention.”