Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Question 358 - Answered on 3rd December 2013

Simon Harris, TD (Wicklow, Fine Gael)

To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to ban the docking of the tails of dogs-puppies and the removal of the dew nail, considering that both of these practices are banned by the Irish veterinarians body; if he will consider introducing such a ban in animal welfare legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney (Cork South-Central, Fine Gael)

The Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (Section 16) prohibits the carrying out of procedures that may cause pain or suffering to animals, including certain husbandry related procedures, unless provided for under Regulations to be made under the Act. I propose to commence the Act shortly and, in this context, a number of draft regulations covering a wide range of issues are in the course of preparation to coincide with its commencement.

With regard to the specific issue of the docking of dogs’ tails, the current legislation, the Protection of Animals Amendment Act (1965), allows tail docking for all dogs up to one month old by any person. I am currently examining draft regulations under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 relating to this issue. It is my intention that, as a general rule, tail docking of all dogs will be banned, exceptin circumstances where the welfare of an animal is affected and, where it is permitted, it must be carried out either by a vet or veterinary nurse during the first four days. Veterinary practitioners will be required to make an assessment as to the necessity of carrying out this procedure given the individual animal’s circumstances and taking account of current scientific knowledge when making this decision.

Nothing in the legislation will interfere with a veterinary practitioner’s ability to undertake appropriate therapeutic operations in respect of injured animals.


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