The Campaign Against the Docking of Dogs' Tails







                                                                                           Sunday, 17th July, 2005




Dear Mr. Gill,


Review of the Veterinary Surgeons’ Act 1966


            While we applaud the College for preparing itself for overhaul and its foresight in seeing what amendments to the  above Act could be required,  we would like to emphasise  attention to some of the areas where our members feel there is not currently much will to take action against certain Veterinary Surgeons who are not upholding the current ethical codes of the College.


First, as laid out, the implementation of a Board and Conduct and Competence Committee sets the agenda for a needed and improved monitored standard of practice throughout the Veterinary profession and allied professions so long as it is not divorced  from the grass roots.


            Second, under Section III para.35  - the current system is proving very unsatisfactory with the underlying impression that the RCVS is failing in its duty to act against those Surgeons who are not upholding its ethical codes of practice.   We feel that all complaints should merit investigation (it is not necessarily easy for a complainant to have all the evidence which may be required to bring about a case of malpractice and at present it appears to be the case that unless the complainant is the aggrieved party the complaint will not be investigated or acted upon}.  Obviously we have in mind here those Vets who have formed a group and website promoting docking despite its contravention of  the  Code of Ethics laid down by the RCVS.  A respondent must be seen to be conforming to set standards and rules and regulations laid down by the College/Board/Committee and not feel free to work totally autonomously once a licence to practice has been granted.  First and foremost he/she has a duty of care to the animal being treated and that no unnecessary harm or suffering should be inflicted whilst under his/her care or of those deputising.  Anaesthetics (local or general) should be compulsorarily administered for all  operations.


            Third, Clause 37  seems a commendable alternative arrangement for persons who may remain aggrieved as a result of an initial failed complaint but the full range of what could be termed as “flawed” may not come to light until such process is in force.  Section 38 might lend itself to a “swap member” say of the medical profession with a Vet for purposes of similar Committees.


            Fourth, clauses 40 and 41 seem appropriate but we would like to advocate that where appropriate, re-education and assessment during a supervisory period become a mandatory feature. 


            Fifth, under clause 44 should not a period of supervision and evidence of re-training and assessment as above be compulsory?


            Sixth, clause 46 - ideally there should be specialist assessment for exotic animals (unless of course future legislation prohibits further importation of exotic creatures) .   It seems that the definition of “veterinary” may need to have more precise up to date clarification.  Until the precise details of the Animal Welfare Bill are made known and enacted we cannot be sure that operations on dogs such as dew claw removal and ear cropping by “lay” persons will be prohibited.  Microchipping, tattooing or drawing blood for tests (say glucose, DNA), treating minor ailments might also be relevant but may not be specific to legal “lay person” status.


            One final non relevant additional comment.  We believe that present day procedures still permit requests by owners of healthy pet animals to have them “destroyed” as they are no longer “required” (also it has been known for persons holding gun licences to kill an unwanted pet animal with impunity).  Perhaps these are aspects that require reviewing. 


                                                Yours sincerely,




                                                Pauline Baines

                                                Founder – A.D.A.


J. Gill Esq.,  External Affairs Department,

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons,

Belgravia  House,

62-64 Horseferry  Road,





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