5 Aug 2012

Is Beauty an Excuse for Mutilation?

Last day during a casual talk with a friend, he mentioned his dog. He was telling me how smart and loyal his Rottwieler was and proceeded to show me a picture of the dog. My knowledge of dogs and their breeds is very limited but I found the picture of the dog a little weird. "Is there something wrong with his tail? It looks a bit weird", I enquired.
The answer he gave, shocked me.The dog had been docked when it was a puppy. Its tail was cut in order to make it look more appealing. When he had bought the puppy, its tail had already been docked and he even mentioned that he had never seen a Rottweiler with its full tail intact!

I was intrigued by the prospect of a tiny little puppy's tail being cut off.. Surely, there must be some other reason for docking other than the appearance factor??

I did a little research on Google and came to know that docking has been carried out for centuries. It was primarily done on hunting dogs to prevent tail injury.While running through thick vegetation and brambles, a dog's tail could easily get torn. A tail injury was extremly painful and difficult to treat, so they docked the end of their tails. Another reason was hygiene. Tails could get very dirty and cause infection inspite of regular grooming. Docking was also done to maintain the breed standards. But nowadays, docking is done mainly for cosmetic purposes.

There are two methods for docking a dog's tail. In the first method, an orthodontic band is placed over the end of puppies tail when they are very young. The blood supply to the tail is cut off and the end of its tail falls off within a few days. The second method is surgical removal of tails using scissors.

People who do docking claim that it is a painless procedure when it is done on a puppy. But researchers feel that docking can effect the balance and the ability of the dogs to communicate. A dog who can't wag its tail?? Isn't that horrible? Whatever excuse people give, it won't justify this inhuman act fueled by our aesthetic tastes.

Thankfully, Animal Welfare Board of India(AWBI) has banned docking and has instructed veterinary surgeons not to carry out docking of tail, cropping of ears and other cosmetic procedures. It is treated as an offense as per Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 and if found guilty, a person can be fined and sentenced to jail term of up to 2 years.

But as is often seen in our country, out of ignorance or out of disregard for the law, some people still carry out this procedure.
In case you find anyone still practicing this cruelty, inform AWBI and pet owners please do understand how cruel you are being to your pets. Say "NO" to docking and stop this mutilation.

Dedicated to my friend's Rottweiler, Rocky!!