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Veterinarians of British Columbia ban tail docking and alteration of dogs, horses and cattle

Gunnar is one of many animals who has been subjected to tail docking.

After an unprecedented voter response from the registrants of the College of Veterinarians of British Columbia (CVBC), 91.5 percent of those who voted cast their ballots in favour of banning the cosmetic tail docking of dogs, horses and cattle, and tail alteration in horses. The decision bringsBritish Columbia in line with a majority of provinces across Canada and supports the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s (CVMA) position on the practices.

“Veterinarians in B.C. have advanced animal welfare in the province through this vote,” says College President Dr. Brendan Matthews. “B.C. now joins the four Atlantic provinces, and Quebec, on banning these cosmetic procedures.”

No scientific evidence supports a welfare or medical benefit for tail docking or alteration, but evidence does show a detrimental effect on behaviour and animal communication, as well as the risk for infection and phantom pain.

Some breed associations continue to resist bans because of historical practices. However, Matthews points out, “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.” In addition to cosmetic tail docking and tail alteration, ear cropping is banned in B.C.

The ban makes the practice of tail docking and alteration, along with ear cropping, an unethical practice of veterinary medicine, and veterinarians found continuing the practice will face disciplinary action from the CVBC. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act authorizes the BC SPCA to investigate and recommend charges against any person, veterinarian or otherwise, believed to be carrying out such procedures.

For more information contact the College of Veterinarians of British Columbia (CVBC) at 604-929-7090. Learn more about the CVBC at http://www.cvbc.ca