The Scottish Executive plans to ban tail docking in Scotland by 30 April. Despite evidence that a ban on docking would be seriously detrimental to animal welfare, Ross Finnie, the minister for the environment and rural development, cited support from major veterinary associations in the Executive?s decision.

Subject to approval from two Scottish Parliamentary Committees, the ban will be in force in April with no exemption for working dogs. BASC, the Scottish Countryside Alliance (SCA)
and the Scottish Gamekeepers? Association carried out a series of surveys into the effects of
a ban and found that 70 per cent of rural vets believe docking of working dogs is necessary.

Ross Montague, from the SCA, said: ?The case for an exemption for working dogs is indisputable. Unfortunately, the Scottish Executive has, once again, chosen to ignore
the expertise of those who live and work in the countryside. The move will create different regimes in Scotland and England, and will force Scottish working dog handlers to travel south of the Border to purchase puppies with docked tails.?

The penalty for illegal docking will be a fine of up to £5000 and/or six months imprisonment.