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Thread: SACS and tail docking

  1. #1

    SACS and tail docking

    I have had a letter from Ian Clark of SACS, it is self explanatory and partly reproduced below, if you feel you can help please e-mail him with your answers.

    Tail Docking in Scotland - URGENT!
    After a long period of inactivity, the tail docking issue is now live again, and I need to attend a
    meeting on 1st May with the author of the two scientific papers on docking and some of the civil
    servants to have an informal discussion about where this is going to go.
    After that, in late May, I will have a formal meeting with Richard Lochhead, the Cabinet
    Secretary to try to try to persuade him to allow docking for working dogs in Scotland.
    One of the difficulties we face is that the evidence from the papers, while helpful, is not
    conclusive and I would like to have as many bullets to fire as possible at these meetings.
    The other real difficulty is that there is almost no information on terriers in either of the studies,
    because of the way they were carried out.
    I am writing to ask you, as a SACS group contact, to pass this on to as many of your contacts and
    friends as you can to help us win the argument.
    I have enclosed a questionnaire - you will almost certainly know which of your contacts it would
    be relevant to when you read it.
    Could you please try to make sure that anyone relevant you know gets a copy of the
    questionnaire within the next few days, and ask them to contact me as a matter of extreme
    urgency?
    Best regards

    Ian Clark
    Director
    Headquarters: Netherholm Netherburn Larkhall Lanarkshire ML9 30G.

    This is what he is asking for your help with specifically
    Prophylactic Tail Docking in Scotland

    The Scottish Government is considering an exemption to the Animal Health and Welfare
    (Scotland) Act 2006 to allow the prophylactic docking of working dogs tails in Scotland.

    There is some scientific evidence to support docking of working Spaniels and HPR
    breeds, but it may not be conclusive enough to achieve the exemption
    .
    There is almost no information on working terriers in the study, and it will be far
    more difficult for us to argue the case for aI/owing them to be docked in the future if
    we lose this opportunity.

    A) Do you own or work any spaniel, terrier, HPR breed or crossbreed of any of
    these which has a tail that was legally docked outside of Scotland?

    B) Do you have an undocked working terrier that has required veterinary
    treatment to a damaged tail ?

    If you have either of these, please complete this short questionnaire urgently and email
    the results to: ian.clark@sacs.org.uk before 30th April 2014

    Q. Do you own a dog docked outwith Scotland __after the introduction of the Animal Health
    and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. If so how many and what breed?

    Spaniel docked outwith Scotland after 2006 ………………………………………….

    Terrier docked outwith Scotland after 2006 ……………………………………………

    HPR docked outwith Scotland after 2006 ………………………………………………

    Crossbred (of above) docked outwith Scotland after 2006 ………………………………

    Undocked working terrier ……………………………………………………………….

    Name …………………………………………………………………………………………………

    Address ……………………………………………………………………………………………..

    Contact Tel ………………………………………………………………………………………..

    Email ……………………………………………………………………………………………….Help if you can please.

    John
    Last edited by JAYB; 29-04-2014 at 09:47. Reason: correction to email
    A clever man knows his strengths, a wise man knows his weaknesses

  2. #2
    All I get is mail box unavailable - any one else get this?

    I think think the email address is wrong.

    try: ian.clark@sacs.org.uk
    Last edited by scubadog; 29-04-2014 at 09:13.

  3. #3
    I suspect the evidence is NOT out there with terriers. I don't think I have ever seen an undocked terrier with a tail injury - I've seen lots of spaniels. The majority of dogs we treat with tail injuries are Labs.

    A little bit of a quick survey won't hold water. The evidence is there in the two papers funded by the Scottish Government. One of the datasets has nearly 100,000 dogs in it. They are published and peer reviewed. That's your evidence.

    A couple of emails from Hamish in Sterling will not add weight to any argument, it actually weakens it. Stick with the science and you might win, play the hearsay card and you will lose!

    Section 161 of the Highways Act 1980 (England & Wales) makes it an offence to discharge a firearm within 50 ft of the centre of a highway with vehicular rights without lawful authority or excuse, if as a result a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Apache View Post
    I suspect the evidence is NOT out there with terriers. I don't think I have ever seen an undocked terrier with a tail injury - I've seen lots of spaniels. The majority of dogs we treat with tail injuries are Labs.

    A little bit of a quick survey won't hold water. The evidence is there in the two papers funded by the Scottish Government. One of the datasets has nearly 100,000 dogs in it. They are published and peer reviewed. That's your evidence.

    A couple of emails from Hamish in Sterling will not add weight to any argument, it actually weakens it. Stick with the science and you might win, play the hearsay card and you will lose!
    If the evidence is not out there, that is the reason for the request - to try and find some as per below
    Quote Originally Posted by JAYB View Post
    One of the difficulties we face is that the evidence from the papers, while helpful, is not
    conclusive and I would like to have as many bullets to fire as possible at these meetings.
    The other real difficulty is that there is almost no information on terriers in either of the studies,
    because of the way they were carried out.

  5. #5
    But this is NOT the way to produce evidence subject to scientific scrutiny! Presenting a little 'home made' survey is not good enough. If you look at the process to produce scientific work along with approval of a questionnaire, test groups etc you will see why doing things the correct way takes time and money.

    I honestly don't think you will find the evidence you are looking for (and I am very supportive of docking working breed dogs).

    Section 161 of the Highways Act 1980 (England & Wales) makes it an offence to discharge a firearm within 50 ft of the centre of a highway with vehicular rights without lawful authority or excuse, if as a result a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered.

  6. #6
    Well either way I have replied with my experience.
    I agree a scientific report is needed - howvere one has already been done and it has howvere failed in its outcome.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by scubadog View Post
    Well either way I have replied with my experience.
    I agree a scientific report is needed - howvere one has already been done and it has howvere failed in its outcome.
    Have you read them both, in full?

    I have and they are both supportive of docking (especially in spaniels).

    A scientific paper cannot 'fail' in its outcome. It is there to test a hypothesis - "undocked working dogs are at greater risk of tail injuries" and assess the evidence for and against that.

    You are going in with an open mind so see what the evidence suggests. Do you see how this is radically different to a few isolated instances of terriers with tail injuries? I can find you a few dozen cases of labs with tail injuries from my computer system here. Perhaps we should dock them and leave the terriers alone?

    If there is no evidence of benefit from ANY mutilation it should be stopped. This paper is the strongest support out there for allowing spaniels to be docked. Other working breeds it is less clear cut. You can contact the authors, but I suspect the terrier tail injuries were insignificant by number. It's not good enough wanting to carry on doing something because we think it might be a good idea.

    (owner of a docked Patterdale and a docked Cocker)

    Section 161 of the Highways Act 1980 (England & Wales) makes it an offence to discharge a firearm within 50 ft of the centre of a highway with vehicular rights without lawful authority or excuse, if as a result a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Apache View Post
    But this is NOT the way to produce evidence subject to scientific scrutiny! Presenting a little 'home made' survey is not good enough. If you look at the process to produce scientific work along with approval of a questionnaire, test groups etc you will see why doing things the correct way takes time and money.

    I honestly don't think you will find the evidence you are looking for (and I am very supportive of docking working breed dogs).
    You are right, but it would appear that there is insufficient time for a new study and the old one is considered unlikely to elicit the exemptions sought. So it may be desperation, but if you are going to fail anyway, you may as well go down fighting with whatever info you have.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Apache View Post
    A scientific paper cannot 'fail' in its outcome. It is there to test a hypothesis - "undocked working dogs are at greater risk of tail injuries" and assess the evidence for and against that.

    Of course they can fail.
    The testing may be incorect, the anyalisis may be wrong or the conclusion may be wrong or taken with a slanted view!
    (from an Electrical Engineer who routinley has to write conduct and conclude scientific analysis on pretty much a daily basis)

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Apache View Post
    Have you read them both, in full?

    I have and they are both supportive of docking (especially in spaniels).

    That is based on your own opinion from the outcome of the report. This however does not suggest that everyone will adopt the same opinion
    of the reports conclusions as you!

    Example - you have mentioned it they are supportive, however the only other person i know that has read it suggests that they may not be so supportive.

    So far that 50/50. Not a good statistic to fight a battle with!

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