Free vote

Next week Parliament will get to vote on the Animal Welfare Bill. There is a free vote on whether to ban tail docking. To be honest, I haven’t read around this subject yet (I will do on my train journey down to Westminster) but I’m up to be persuaded either way. On the one hand, I think I’ve voted to ban enough things and activities this year. On the other, chopping of a dogs tail does seem a brutal act. What are your views?

14 thoughts on “Free vote”

  1. Hi Tom

    Firstly, great site, I have bookmarked it because I like what you do here.

    Re. tail docking – I always used to be 100% against it, so when we got a boxer dog we didn’t have its tail removed.

    He’s recently died so we are looking at getting another – but this time I’ll be having the tail removed.

    The problem is that their tails really hurt your legs when they get excited, and if you are unfortunate enough to be a small child you get cracked in the face causing injury. The tails dont seem to have flesh on them, just skin and bone – it hurts I can tell you!!


  2. If there’s a case for banning anything, perhaps its approaching its strongest in respect of unnecessary cruelty to animals that can’t answer back. As I understand it, the case for docking is that it makes it widens the scope of habitats where people can flush birds to shoot them for sport. One form of cruelty requires another?

  3. Are you going to quota your commitment to moral goodness? Where there’s a free vote, you have no obligation to your party so consider your obligation to man’s best friend.

  4. From what I understand it’s done to working dogs so they dont get injured. Dont know if it’s nessasary for domestic animals. I too, think too much has been banned this last 12 months, most of it too dificult to police.

    I think there are worse things going on in the country/world we could do before worrying about animals tales.

  5. Your comment regarding “banning too much” is interesting.

    If you moved to restrict a practice because it was wrong then surely it was right to make that move. Only if you voted to ban a practice that had no reason to be restricted would you ban oo much.

    What are you doing banning stuff for the sake of it?

    In this case, there is no need to dock an animals tail. It is done for vanity and is cruel. Banning it will not be “too much”, it will be the right thing to do.


  6. Now this couldn’t possibly be a barking distraction from that other Bill due to be considered for second reading this week? Have you read what Labour Party members think, Tom?

    Go to

    When I was a Hackney councillor, I had to close a secondary school (Hackney Downs). The then ruling Labour Group wanted to open a new mixed comprehensive to meet parent demand. But a Tory SoS for Education vetoed our application. No prizes for guessing why I do not and could not ever support such powers being granted writ large to any SoS.

    Peter Kenyon in a personal capacity

  7. ‘m’, very interesting juxtaposition in your use of the word tales (I am sure that this literary tool has a specific name).

    I am convinced to this day that my ‘O’ level English teacher thought that I was on the road to becoming the next Ted Hughes when I used the phrase ‘soul survivor’ to describe the last soldier standing after a particularly gruesome battle…….little did she know that I simply couldn’t spell.

    Miss Lawson if you’re out there…….

  8. Tail docking is brutal and totally unnecessary. It should be banned completely – except after injury or disease and a vet believes it necessary.
    If the Royal Veterinary College and the British Veterinary Association are all against tail docking, surely you should listen to the professionals and use your vote to help ban tail docking.

  9. A dog’s tail is one of its primary tools of communication. An exemption for working dogs on non-medical grounds is not justified. You’d hardly vote for people’s tongues to be cut off pre-emptively on the off-chance that they might lose them in an industrial accident in the future.

  10. I always understood tail docking to be more of a cosmetic consideration, and it is certainly much rarer now than it used to be amongst domestic breeds. There seems to be no reason to do it other than the aesthetic – and whilst humans have free choice to mutilate themselves if they so wish, I don’t think anyone has the right to make that choice for an animal just because they think it looks better.

  11. I’m not sure exactly what the amendments say, but my opinion would be that a vet should only dock a tail if s/he believes that to be in the best interests of the animal.

    I’m totally opposed for cosmetic reasons, but that is, with respect, something for the Kennel Club to address, not parliament.

  12. Respect to Peter Kenyon for bringing up the more important vote going on in the Commons tomorrow – a shame the subject of education hasn’t been picked up on more in the comments – not the subject of this thread I understand, but whether to discuss the docking of a dogs tail or a whole change in our education system…

  13. There are no reasons execpt the vanity of the owners to dock tails.

    It used to be part of breed standard in the kennel club, but it is now removed….but if you looked at crufts when it was on I saw many dogs with docked tails. Also the breeds where docking tails is very very common I saw no dogs entered into the shows with full tails.

  14. Picked up late on this one – Tom I hope you did the right thing and voted for the ban.
    Have to echo the other comment about applying a quota on your ‘moral goodness’ – if it right it’s right.
    Sad to see a few ‘there are more important things’ comments.

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