Australia commits to tail-docking ban
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2003:
BRISBANE, Australia–Five of the seven Australian states are
reportedly committed to introducing a national ban on docking dogs’
tails by June 30, 2003, to take effect on December 1.
“New South Wales and the Northern Territory requested more
time to consider joining the ban,” reported Larizza Dubecki of the
Melbourne Age. “The decision [to ban tail-docking] was made at the
April 10 Primary Industries Ministerial Council in Brisbane,
supported by the Royal SPCA and the Australian Veterinary Association.
The AVA first called for a ban on tail-docking in 1998, six
years after the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in Britain and
five years after the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, but
Australia is the first English-speaking nation to commit to a ban.
Rare outside English-speaking nations, tail-docking is done
primarily to comply with breed standards established in England by
the Kennel Club during the 19th century, later adopted by the
American Kennel Club and other kennel associations.
ANIMAL PEOPLE has no record of any U.S. legislative efforts
to ban tail-docking, but there have been two recent court cases of
The New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled 3-2
on February 26, 2003 that Manhattan attorney Jon H. Hammer lacked
standing to sue the AKC under an anti-cruelty statute meant to be
enforced by law enforcement agencies. Hammer sought to overturn the
AKC tail-docking standard for Brittany spaniels, contending that it
compels the mutilation of show dogs.
Earlier, U.S. District Judge James Ware of San Jose,
California, ruled in October 2002 that the Jack Russell Terrier Club
of America may enforce whatever breed standards it wants, and need
not recognize Jack Russells bred by members of the Jack Russell
Network of Northern California. At issue in the case, filed in 1998
by the Jack Russell Network, was that the Jack Russell Terrier Club
of America does not recognize the AKC breed standard, while the Jack
Russell Network is an AKC affiliate.
The import of Ware’s ruling as regards tail-docking is that
there is no U.S. judicial or legislative precedent for overturning a