Mixed Messages Around Animal Welfare?
The New Zealand Council of Docked Breeds (NZCDB) is astounded that a Christchurch couple escaped conviction after
removing their puppies’ tails with a hot iron. “The Code is there, the process is in place and we get let down by the
judicial system”, says NZCDB spokesperson, Mrs Lesley Chalmers.
Chalmers went on to say “it is remarkable that in spite of thousands of both dollars and hours having been spent by both
sides of the tail docking debate to reach the current Code of Welfare (Dogs) 2010, that a judge can use the reason of
“ignorance” to allow the couple to escape a conviction”.
“Both the NZVA and the SPCA maintain Animal Welfare is one of their primary concerns. If so, then this is further proof
that they are failing in their responsibility of education not just to the general public, but to the people responsible
for upholding the law in this country.”
The NZCDB have repeatedly maintained the Code of Welfare (Dogs) needs to be better sold to the public and organisations.
Chalmers said “Rather than spending even more time and money fighting an argument that does not have universal support
this should be a reality check to the SPCA and NZVA that their time and efforts towards Animal Welfare would be more
gainfully employed in teaching people about the current Codes of Welfare. This is the real nuts and bolts of Animal
Welfare and it is obvious that the message is not being delivered to the correct audience. Educate the public; stop
bullying their own members; get over the fact that tail banding is accepted in this country; and use the Code as the
tool it was designed to be.”
When Chalmers was questioned about tail docking not having universal support, she commented “the NZCDB have anecdotal
reports from their members that numerous vets are making sure that people who want their puppies tails banded are
referred to an Accredited Bander. We also have reports that there are a number of vets who are still performing the
practice – and we applaud this.”
Chalmers further commented “We (NZCDB) have fought to maintain the Freedom of Choice for breeders on three occasions
since 2004. Since the Code of Welfare was introduced in 2010, there still remains no scientific evidence that it causes
pain to band puppies at the appropriate age and using the NAWAC approved protocols. This Code is three years old and
this is the only case that has presented in that time – do you consider that a major animal welfare issue?”
Tail shortening has been a traditional practice for many hundreds of years and amongst other reasons, is a preventative
measure against potential tail damage. It continues to be performed in breeds that through practical experience, were
found to be predisposed to damage either due to tail structure or use.
Chalmers goes on “We (NZCDB) have fought to maintain the Freedom of Choice for breeders on three occasions since 2004.
Only three years into this Code and we have the issue around the docking of dogs tails raised yet again. Three times in
less than 10 years; public opinion and input has been sought on each occasion; nothing has been added in the means of
scientific evidence! What an absolute waste of parliament time and taxpayer dollars. A ban on docking has not worked
overseas, but in fact has had the reverse affect, requiring hundreds of dogs to have their tails amputated as adults
when injury and damage cannot be healed.