It will soon be illegal to dock dogs' tails in Victoria, Australia if new regulations are passed. The regulations were released for public comment in February and have received the support of Agriculture Minister Bob Cameron, state and national animal welfare groups and veterinary association.
The only tail docking that would be allowed under the new regulation would be for therapeutic purposes, such as cases in which a tail has been crushed or has cancer.
"Tail docking should not be a necessary or mandatory requirement for any breed of dog," Cameron said. "The Australian national Kennel Club has indicated tailed dogs in a traditionally docked breed should not be discriminated against by judges."
If the legislation is passed, Victoria will join the growing list of Australian regions, including South Australia and Queensland, that have banned the practice. Tail docking has also been banned in numerous other countries, including Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Greece, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Finland.
Tail docking is becoming an increasingly controversial issue in the United States, as well. Late last year a dog fancier sued the American Kennel Club. His suit, which was dismissed in a 3-2 vote, alleged that the current AKC standards were discriminatory against dogs with long tails and violated New York anti-cruelty laws.
In addition, the American Animal Hospital Association recently revised its animal welfare position statements to condemn the practice of tail docking and recommend that these criteria be removed from breed standards. The revised statements also discourage ear cropping as a practice or breed standard. The organization has sent out letters to representatives of all the breed clubs that still encourage these practices in their standards. The letter informed them of AAHA's new position statement regarding these procedures and encouraged that groups modify their standards.