MP backs tail docking ban

Hull North MP Diana Johnson will support a ban on the docking of dogs' tails in today's House of Commons votes on the remaining stages of the Animal Welfare Bill.

The Hull North MP, a keen dog-lover, believes that the Bill can be improved by extending the proposed restriction of tail docking to include working dogs, so that tail docking would only be allowed for therapeutic reasons.

The reasons for supporting the tail docking ban include:

· Tail docking causes pain in dogs, which is even more intense for new-born puppies.

· A dog's tail is a major element of its means of communication.

· The removal of a dog's tail may induce or exacerbate other medical problems.

MPs will also be discussing and voting on the tail docking issue alongside other issues that include the treatment of circus animals and the giving of animals as prizes.

The Government's Animal Welfare Bill will, for the first time, require owners to properly care for their pets, preventing thousands of animals from suffering ongoing neglect. Once enacted, the Bill will make it a legal obligation for owners to ensure that their pets are well nourished, receive veterinary treatment if sick or injured, and are kept in an appropriate environment. As well as the welfare offence, the Animal Welfare Bill will increase penalties for those found guilty of inflicting the most serious cruelty on animals.

Diana Johnson MP said: "Having received representations from many different groups and individuals on this issue, I am satisfied that tail docking is cruel, inflicts pain and is largely unnecessary.

"There is a convincing case for a total ban on tail docking, apart from on therapeutic grounds. It would be daft for tail docking to be fully banned in Scotland, but not elsewhere in the UK.

"I hope MPs take the opportunity to repay some of the loyalty that our pets give to us when we take through this historic legislation."