Points to raise in a letter to your MP

DECEMBER 2005

Please mention the following but put in your own words:

1 - Start by mentioning that you are a constituent and that you are writing regarding the recently published Animal Welfare Bill (England and Wales) or the Animal Health and Welfare Bill (Scotland).

2 - While the bill does not specifically mention docking, there is likely to be a vote permitting it by way of an exemption clause in secondary legislation.

3 - Point out that in the AWB Regulatory Impact Assessment which accompanies the Bill, the Government has stated: “Sincere views were held by those who both support and oppose a ban on cosmetic docking and our preference is that there should continue to be freedom of choice.”

4 - You are therefore seeking your MP's support in voting for docking to be continued, when the vote happens.

5 - Acknowledge that the case both for and against docking has aroused much controversy and emotion but that hundreds of veterinary surgeons continue to dock and that the profession’s opposition is not based on fact, just prejudice, it is a simple animal welfare procedure and you believe that it is in the animal’s best interests to continue.  

6 - There is no scientific evidence showing that puppies feel pain during the process of docking, and that balance and the use of the tail to communicate are red herrings thrown up by those opposing the practice.

7 - There is evidence in Sweden to show that undocked working dogs damage their tails more than docked working dogs.  The seven year study at the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies which tries to prove otherwise was flawed beyond belief (proof here which you might like to print & send to your MP).

8 - A blanket ban would result in damaged tails in working breeds as has been found in Sweden, a reduction in litters bred by conscientious breeders as found in parts of Australia and likely an increase in litters bred by unscrupulous "back street" breeders who have no interest in breeding and will mate any old bitch to any old dog with the consequential increase in undesirable traits.

9 - Involve your Breed Club too; tell them to write stating how many members they represent. They can also send a delegation of 2 -3 members to visit MP's in areas their Club covers, always stating how many members they represent.

10 - If you are in a Welsh constituency, tell your MP/AM that Welsh National breeds could disappear forever and reputable, knowledgeable breeders will give up breeding allowing puppy farmers to flourish!

And lastly:

Remember YOU are the expert! You cannot expect your MP to debate a subject he knows nothing about - give them the information they need to understand and debate the subject when the time comes or all will be lost!

You can find out the name of your Westminster MP by just entering your post code.

If you reside in Scotland, your SMP details can be found here by just entering your post code.

You can send your MP an email from the Westminster site, but it may be best to write it in Microsoft "Word" or equivalent first, then cut & paste it to the email. Letters should be addressed to your MP at: House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.