British Columbia

B.C. veterinarians ban cosmetic tail docking for dogs, horses

Most members of B.C. College of Veterinarians voted in favour of ban

Matthew Clemente

The classic cropped-ear, docked-tail look of the doberman could become a thing of the past in B.C. (Courtesy: Matthew Clemente)

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Members of B.C.'s College of Veterinarians have voted to ban cosmetic tail docking of dogs, horses and cattle.

The college says the more than 91 per cent of members who took part in a recent vote cast ballots against tail docking.

It says the vote brings B.C. into line with the four Atlantic provinces and Quebec in banning cosmetic docking.

The college says no scientific evidence supports docking for the welfare or medical benefit of an animal, but evidence does show docking can harm animal behaviour and communication, as well as raise risks of infection and phantom pain.

In addition to cosmetic tail docking and tail alteration, ear cropping has already been banned in B.C.

The college says some breed associations continue to resist docking bans, citing historical practices, but college president Brendan Matthews wants veterinarians to set an example.

"Veterinarians have an ethical responsibility to the animals they treat and tail docking goes against that responsibility. We ask other provinces to follow suit and for breed associations to recognize the changing times," Matthews said in a news release.

Veterinarians who continue the practice of docking will face disciplinary action from the college.

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