Snips & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails

Discussion in 'Animal Welfare' started by Smartmouthwoman, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. Troianii

    Troianii Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    It seems quite cruel to me, clipping off a dog's tail and messing with it's ears. Those are two of a dogs main forms of expression.

    But, it is absolutely the act of a nanny-state. The very essence of a nanny-state is the idea that the government knows better than the individual, and so will regulate an individual's affairs. It's the same reason why governments tax individuals for the purpose of giving the individuals their money back at a fixed rate - the nanny-state doesn't believe that individuals are intelligent enough to make the best decisions for themselves.

    Now, granted, this is merely restricting what kinds of dogs can be in shows (not whether or not they can be docked), but it is still ridiculous.
     
  2. saintmichaeldefendthem

    saintmichaeldefendthem New Member Past Donor

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    The foreskin has nothing to do with sexual pleasure. The sensory receptors that produce a pleasurable feeling are in the glans penis. Fail.

    No value to you doesn't mean no value at all. How much expertise do you have at dog shows? Oh, that's right, you don't know (*)(*)(*)(*) about it.
     
  3. cenydd

    cenydd Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    That is also an issue I've been involved with campaigning on, and it is a campaign that has gained some considerable momentum (in the UK at least) to the point that the KC (UK) are at least beginning to try to do something serious about it (although they aren't going nearly far enough yet). I still don't see why that means the issue of unnecessary, purely cosmetic tail docking shouldn't be addressed (especailly since that one is very quick and easy to address - breeding out the defects which have been selectively bred in is something that will inevitably take a while, even though it has already been started).
     
  4. cenydd

    cenydd Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    So why support it being done, since it is completely unnecessary and of no actual benefit to anyone (especially the dog)?

    That's just nonsense. In the first place, it isn't the goal of many on the left to 'eliminate the top breed' anyway, but more importantly being 'the top breed' doesn't in any way rely on having ears and tails cut off! Cutting ears and tails has no benefit to the dog whatsoever (with the exception of dogs working in certain curcumstances, for whom there is an exemption under UK law anyway). As has already been pointed out, 18 year olds choose to have tats and piercings of their own free will - that is just them exercising their freedom as individuals, and nobody (either socially or in government) has the right to criticise them for making that choice or the right to try to stop them from doing it. The same cannot be said of the dogs, though - that choice is not theirs, and is made for them by someone else and imposed on them whether they like it or not, and for absolutely no good reason. 'I think it looks nicer' is simply not a valid reason to mutilate an animal, in my opinion, and our priorities should always be to protect those who are unable to protect themselves from the actions of others, rather than restricting the freedom of choice for those who choose to do something to themselves (whether others happen to like it or not). That is what protecting freedom is all about - protecting it from the actions of others who would do harm to them for no good reason. Those principles must apply most especially to those who do not have the power or ability to defend themselves, such as children, and if animals are seen as sentient beings (which, of course, they undoubtably are) then it would by entirely unjustifiable morally to not extent the basic principles of that to protecting them from potential abuse by those who have effective power over them.

    As I already pointed out, this seems to be the difference in atitude among many in the US compared with the UK - we value dogs more as sentient living creatures, not just as out inanimate possessions which we should be able to treat how we like to make them look how we like, purely for our own twisted aesthetic ideals, whether it is actually in their interests or not. That is why our laws are different. Banning cropping and docking has nothing to do with 'restricting the freedom of dog owners', and everything to do with protecting animals from being needlessly mutilated by those who care more about their looks than about them as actual living and feeling beings. There is simply no benefit to the animals to mutilate them physically in such ways, there is no need to mutilate them in such ways at all, so there is simply no moral justification for doing it, or for allowing people to do it just because they have the effective physical power to do it.

    It seems to me to be a very twised set of moral priorities to suggest in any way that people should have their freedom to choose tats and piercings for themselves restricted in some way, while allowing animals to be mutilated at will by their owners, without any choice in the matter themselves, and for no reason at all. That's not 'freedom', it's just 'might must always be right' (both the 'might' of owner over dog, and the 'might' of society over individual freedom), and that is not a kind of morality that I would ever subscribe to.
     
  5. cenydd

    cenydd Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    No, the UK law restricts whether they can actually be docked or not (and ear cropping is also illegal, although that's a much older law). In England and Wales (but not Scotland) there are exemptions for dogs of certain breeds (and crosses of those breeds, in England only) where it can be demonstrated that those dogs are likely to be working under specific circumstances (and the docking can only be done at under 5 days old, and by a vet certifying that he/she has seen evidence of the dogs likely working future). It is illegal to show dogs that were docked after the ban came into force at any event where entrance fees are paid, unless it is specifically only to show the dogs working ability.
     
  6. saintmichaeldefendthem

    saintmichaeldefendthem New Member Past Donor

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    Yeah, you keep repeating that. With that reasoning, selective breeding will soon be outlawed too and I wouldn't be surprised if that's next on your agenda. When I mention that dogs are bred for our benefit, not for the dog, your side keeps retreating to "well that doesn't include surgical alterations". So which is it? And more importantly rather than asking what benefit it is to the dog, we should be asking how it hurts a dog. Since you're proposing that this somehow hurts dogs, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that. A previous poster pointed out how selective breeding impedes dogs far more than docking, affecting how they breath, eat, walk, and run. All of these changes are made to suit the preferences of the owner, but you propose to make a victim out animals that, by all reasonable observation, haven't really been harmed in anyway. To me this is nothing more than busy body activism on the part of those who make it their mission in life to tell everyone else how to live.

    And you say you're part of this movement. In the famous words of Rush Limbaugh, I hope you fail.
     
  7. Woogs

    Woogs Well-Known Member

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    You'd be surprised how quickly these traits could be bred out if there was a real effort. In the breeds I mentioned, there are certainly good quality dogs that could be used for breeding stock if the standard didn't call for such exaggerated features.

    You and I probably disagree on tail docking. Yes, it is mostly cosmetic, but there have been instances of tail injury that led to permanent deformity, so it's not such a clear-cut issue. Also, I would add that a correct Yorkie tail is docked to a 'medium length'. Docking a tail to a nubby length is more traumatic and some dogs have been left with nerve damage due to a very short tail docking.

    Now, on ear-cropping, I would agree that it's un-necessary and much more involved than a tail docking procedure. Judicious outcrossing, if allowed, may achieve the desired prick ear in breeds over time. Outcrossing could also solve some of the inherent health issues in some breeds. That route is doubtful as then you would be getting away from the 'pure bred' aspect of the dog world.

    In my breed (Yorkshire Terrier) there are still some dogs that don't achieve the prick ear called for in the standard, but I've never heard of anyone having a modern Yorkie's ears cropped. Early in the breed's history, flop ears, which were cropped, were not uncommon and the breed's foundation sire had cropped ears. Most Yorkies now with flop ears can be corrected through taping, but some still will have the flop, no matter what.
     
  8. Questerr

    Questerr Banned

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    So in your mind selective breeding = painful and cruel surgical modification.

    Good to know.
     
  9. Questerr

    Questerr Banned

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    And you apparently believe that legal adults consenting to the modificaiton of their bodies is the same as a person torturing an animal against their will.
     
  10. Questerr

    Questerr Banned

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    Ah I see. Now I get why you Righties are supporting animal torture: people make money off it.

    That is all you people care about. Continue to worship your Almighty God Profit.
     
  11. Daybreaker

    Daybreaker Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm.

    I don't know.

    I'm personally against what seems to me like the mutilation of animals.

    Making it a law ... I don't know ...
     
  12. Woogs

    Woogs Well-Known Member

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    Tail docking and ear cropping hardly qualifies as 'torture'. Your hyperbole only diminishes the value of the word. You have every right to be against these procedures, but they are not 'torture'.

    Spaying and neutering are considered to be part of good pet ownership, but there are many increased health risks that come with having your animal fixed. Is that torture?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    On the positive side, neutering male dogs
    • eliminates the small risk (probably <1%) of dying from testicular cancer
    • reduces the risk of non-cancerous prostate disorders
    • reduces the risk of perianal fistulas
    • may possibly reduce the risk of diabetes (data inconclusive)

    On the negative side, neutering male dogs
    • if done before 1 year of age, significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer); this is a
    common cancer in medium/large and larger breeds with a poor prognosis.
    • increases the risk of cardiac hemangiosarcoma by a factor of 1.6
    • triples the risk of hypothyroidism
    • increases the risk of progressive geriatric cognitive impairment
    • triples the risk of obesity, a common health problem in dogs with many associated health problems
    • quadruples the small risk (<0.6%) of prostate cancer
    • doubles the small risk (<1%) of urinary tract cancers
    • increases the risk of orthopedic disorders
    • increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations

    On the positive side, spaying female dogs
    • if done before 2.5 years of age, greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumors, the most common
    malignant tumors in female dogs
    • nearly eliminates the risk of pyometra, which otherwise would affect about 23% of intact female
    dogs; pyometra kills about 1% of intact female dogs
    • reduces the risk of perianal fistulas
    • removes the very small risk (&#8804;0.5%) from uterine, cervical, and ovarian tumors

    On the negative side, spaying female dogs
    • if done before 1 year of age, significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer); this is a
    common cancer in larger breeds with a poor prognosis
    • increases the risk of splenic hemangiosarcoma by a factor of 2.2 and cardiac hemangiosarcoma by
    a factor of >5; this is a common cancer and major cause of death in some breeds
    • triples the risk of hypothyroidism
    • increases the risk of obesity by a factor of 1.6-2, a common health problem in dogs with many
    associated health problems
    • causes urinary “spay incontinence” in 4-20% of female dogs
    • increases the risk of persistent or recurring urinary tract infections by a factor of 3-4
    • increases the risk of recessed vulva, vaginal dermatitis, and vaginitis, especially for female dogs
    spayed before puberty
    • doubles the small risk (<1%) of urinary tract tumors
    • increases the risk of orthopedic disorders
    • increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations

    http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongTermHealthEffectsOfSpayNeuterInDogs.pdf
     
  13. cenydd

    cenydd Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    The UK breed standards have been changed quite alot, although they do need to be changed more. Some breeds are worse than others, and will take longer to fix than others, but I agree that changing the standards is the key to success. It isn't only the breed standard that has caused the problem, of course - there's also the way in which judges apply what is written, and the fact that they have allowed certain things to become exaggerated well beyond what the original intention of the breed standards were (according to changing trends and fashions) - the 'sloping back' of the GSD is a good example (I visited Crufts a few years ago, and saw many GSD's, none of which looked remotely 'fit for purpose' in terms of their physical construction - it's caused huge physical rifts between 'working lines' and 'show lines' of the same breeds that just shouldn't be there at all). Those standards need to be re-written to take that interpretation issue out of the equation, so they are still the initial answer to the problem. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the UK KC is somewhat ahead of their US counterparts on this kind of thing now, largely as a result of pressure from the public, dog charities, and so on (frankly they have been dragged kicking and screaming into it, but they are moving now, and they should be given due credit for that).

    I just don't see it as at all necessary, and being so unnecessary I can't see how it is then justifiable to do it. They aren't docked at all in the UK now, obviously, and it's something I think people generally have got used to quite quickly. I think that 'look', in any breed, is just something people liked because it what was 'normal', and once 'normal' became something else (i.e. with tail) most people grew to like it just as much in a very short time (in fact, I think many people just didn't give it much active thought - that was what the standard said (and what judges wanted, of course), so that is what they did). There are the potential risks and disadvantages of doing it (less so in with mid-length than short docking, as you say, but there are still some there as there are with any 'surgical procedure'), and not just in terms of the potential problems with the operation (it's a widely recognised probability that there are inter-canine communication and 'body language' issues for dogs without a tail). I just can't see how inflicting those risks on a dog (not to mention the pain, of course) is worth doing when there isn't actually any particular practical gain to be had.

    That over-insistance on the 'pure bred' aspect, and not allowing sufficient regulated outcrossing to maintain proper health, is something that has caused problems of its own (aside from the over-emphasis of certain characteristics by selective breeding issue) - rage syndrome in Cocker Spaniels, for example. A bit of common sense needs to prevail, really. Maintaining the integrity of breeds is important (I'm certainly not one of the 'there shouldn't be any breeds' types - I have pure bred dogs myself, although I've never been interested in showing or breeding), but there comes a point when maintaining purity of blood at all costs becomes counter-productive to that aim by threatening the health of the breed, and under current circumstances by making it much harder to get the breed back to where it should be in terms of its physical attributes and overall health.

    And that means they aren't the best examples for showing, and that's fine - there's nothing 'wrong' with them as dogs, and they still make just as good pets as if their ears stick up. I don't have an issue with that at all (I used to have a pet GSD with one floppy ear, in fact), or with having 'conformation' shows, as long as a bit of common sense is employed in breed standards and judging to ensure that health and wellbeing is a top priority, and that 'fitness for purpose' is also considered for dogs which were supposedly designed to be workers. The UK KC have been forced to go a little way down that road by including things like mandatory vet checks for all winners in Crufts and so on (which should really be something basic and sensible under the circumstances, with the likelyhood of multiple breeding for champion dogs, but at least it is there now), and there's been some controversy over chosen breed winners who have then been disqualified over health issues (and winners not being able to be chosen for some particularly bad breeds), but I do think some in the show breeding world needed that kind of boot up the backside to make them sit up and take notice of what needs to be done, for the good of the dogs!
     
  14. cenydd

    cenydd Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    While I'm generally opposed to legal restrictions and bans on things, how else can stopping such animal mutilation be achieved? The animals have no freedom of choice in the matter if the owners decide to do it - the owners have total authority over them. The only way to protect them from such things, as far as I can see, is to stop the owners from being allowed to do it.
     
  15. Questerr

    Questerr Banned

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    Tell you what, I'll cut the toes of one of your kids against their will. You tell me then whether it qualifies as torture.
     
  16. saintmichaeldefendthem

    saintmichaeldefendthem New Member Past Donor

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    This is some very good information. It's always medicinal when somebody brings the facts to bear in a discussion full of hyperbole and speculation. Thank you.
     
  17. cenydd

    cenydd Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    While I agree that 'torture' is too strong a term for it, the big difference is that there is an actual, tangible, provable benefit to doing it. It isn't just about them 'looking good', but about preventing unwanted extra litters of puppies in a world already overpopulated with unwanted and consequently ill treated (even if the 'ill treatment' is only being left in a shelter with no loving home to go to) dogs (and also about helping to prevent issues such as dog theft for puppy farming and so on).
     
  18. liberalminority

    liberalminority Well-Known Member

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    It does seem like nanny state because for instance cats have sharp claws its neccessary to declaw them to protect from scratches, for dogs they already go through the process of castration to protect from over breeding during their heat cycle so cutting of their tails or ears is not worst than that.

    Although if the government were truly benevolent toward animal abuse it would ban any disfigurement including the castration to prevent over breeding but it never goes that far because of public outcry or because it is not moral.
     
  19. cenydd

    cenydd Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    No it isn't - aside from very rare medical reasons, it's almost exlusively done to just protect the furniture and possessions of the owner from being scratched. That's a postion I personally have no sympathy with - if you aren't prepared to accept that your cat might just scratch something with its claws, you really shouldn't have a cat at all! I've had many cats, and never felt the need to have any of them declawed - I've had the odd posession screatched, but that's what happens if you have cats! It's now illegal in the UK (since 2006, I think) anyway - it's a pointless procedure of no benefit at all to the animal.

    Except that it is completely unnecessary, of no benefit to the animal, and often not done under proper surgical conditions (or using anaesthetic, of course).
     
  20. saintmichaeldefendthem

    saintmichaeldefendthem New Member Past Donor

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    You're being a little judgemental here. I adopted a cat from the Humane Society and the cat kept scratching up my carpet to the point where it started causing permanent damage. I bought her other things to scratch, but could not get her to stop tearing up my carpet. My choice was to either have her declawed on the front paws or she would be homeless. Since she's an indoor cat, she doesn't need them anyway and I'll take care of her till the day she dies. Every situation is different. Just because you've never had to have a cat declawed doesn't mean others don't have different situations that require it. I'm guessing this is just another example of you thinking you know better how people are to relate to their own pets.
     
  21. cenydd

    cenydd Well-Known Member Past Donor

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  22. Woogs

    Woogs Well-Known Member

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    Here in the States, almost all working breeds have both breeders of 'show' lines and 'working' lines. Those breeding working lines are quick to deride the beauty pageant aspect of dog shows. Very few dogs can achieve both working and conformation titles due to the gulf between breeding for form vs breeding for function.

    Any changes towards a truly 'ideal' dog will come slowly as here in the US breed standards can only be submitted for change no more often than once every 5 years. Any changes will be small and would take some time to accomplish. That's considering there is even a will in the Parent Club to change any of the standard.

    The UK got a jolt with the airing of 'Pedigree Dogs Exposed'. It opened a lot of eyes to the show dog world.

    [video=youtube;opvvhTWqS6U]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opvvhTWqS6U[/video]


    As I mentioned earlier, there are real risks to tail injury in some breeds and the incidence has gone up in the UK since the docking ban took effect. Personally, I don't see the communication issue as such a big thing as dogs use more than just their tail in communicating. It's just what is most apparent to us humans. As for the pain, in my experience most pups are more traumatized by being held still for the docking than by the docking itself. Most are back asleep by the time my vet brings them back out (which only takes a few minutes) and they forget all about it as soon as they belly up to the milk bar back home.

    Also, the pups' dew claws are removed at the same time.

    On this issue, there is no one answer. Every breed has a different history and some breed clubs have been better stewards of the breed than others. As I said, I breed Yorkshires, but there are some breeds that I would never get involved in due to what has been allowed to happen to the breed. I love all dogs, but some breeds have been absolutely ruined.

    I'm no expert in the show world, but it seems that FCI (a world-wide sponsor of dog shows) has one of the best protocols for championing dogs and encouraging responsible breeding.

    Here's a link to their website. http://www.fci.be/default.aspx
     
  23. cenydd

    cenydd Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    There was a readily available third option - accept (after attempting to train her not to, providing alternatives, and so on, obviously) that she was going to tear up the carpet, and if a torn up carpet was not something you could accept or live with in your house replace the carpet with, for example, laminate flooring, or some other material which prevent the behaviour from being a problem. Declawing is an extremely unpleasant procedure (with a potentially extremely unpleasant aftermath) for cats (see the first of the links on my previous post), and I personally I don't view it as being something acceptable to do to an animal in order to protect some of my material posessions from damage.

    It's illegal in the UK, and before that it wasn't something that was at all widely done (in fact, it was an incredibly rare practise), and cats and their owners survive perfectly well here without it. It clearly isn't something that is actually 'necessary'.
     
  24. cenydd

    cenydd Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    It did. It took a while for the KC to stop resisting the inevitable (and they still have issues), but it made a huge difference in publicising problems that the KC had tried to keep hidden for years. Perhaps the US needs its version of the same thing to bring the problem to the public's attention.

    In working dogs, yes - that's why the UK (apart from Scotland) allows exemptions for dogs that will actually be working. Apart from that, though, the risks are really minimal - the overwhelming majority of dogs will have no problems with their tails, and a rottie (for example) with a tail is no more likely to damage it than a labrador. Obviously the incidence has gone up somewhat, but then (to put it in a flippant manner) if you removed the legs of all the dogs of a certain breed, the incidence of leg injuries in that breed would go down dramatically - that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do, though!

    It's something that we are really only at the beginnings of fully understanding, but recent studies have apparently shown that it is a potential issue. Dogs do communicate in many ways, of course, but the tail is one of those ways, and is used for communicating specific things - it doesn't seem unreasonable to me to consider that those communication of those things for which the tail is normally used might be impaired somewhat by removing that method of communication altogether.

    That's a kind of argument that has long been used - that they somehow 'don't feel pain' at that age. The evidence and balance of veterinary opinion seems to be very much against that arguement now, though (see my previous links).

    I certainly agree with you there. I'm a generally big, working-type dog person myself, and most of those breeds seem to have got off relatively lightly compared with the toy breeds in particular (although the show/working divide has become extreme in some breeds, and I'd personally avoid getting a dog from purely show lines in those breeds), but if the rot isn't stopped and the situation reversed then an increasing number of breeds will share the fate of the likes of the peke in becoming so mal-formed that they can barely survive, let alone thrive, as individual dogs. I hope all of these breeds can be saved, but I fear that it will need increasing willingness of kennel clubs to act decisively, and to allow limited and controlled outcrossings for rapid improvement, for that to happen before it is too late for some breeds.
     
  25. saintmichaeldefendthem

    saintmichaeldefendthem New Member Past Donor

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    You've given me one more reason to thank God I'm an American. No, I'm not going to accept thousands of dollars in damage to give my cat something to scratch. Nobody is unless they're somebody who has more money than brains. If I sent the cat back to the Humane Society, she would end up with another owner faced with the exact same dilemma. Eventually, unable to be placed, she would be put to sleep. You propose that fate for her rather than the one she has, a happy cat in a loving home and an owner that will take care of her until she dies. The cruelty is all on your side, even setting aside the crap you try to float about how how "unpleasant" it is. I swear my cat was smiling (if cats could smile) on the kitty vic she was on. Given a chance to express her choice, I'm guessing she would choose that over death. I have to imagine cats have more common sense than humans from what I'm seeing on this thread.
     

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