SO “tail shortening” for gundogs is to be allowed. What a silly euphemism for chopping off a puppy's tail without an anaesthetic ("Ban on tail-docking to be axed", The Herald, June 14) I have no doubt it suits the five SNP, four Tory, two Labour and one Green MSPs on the Environment Committee to use the phrase shortening rather than amputation of a puppy's tail without anaesthetic. It probablty eases their guilt. A puppy's tail is about the same as a baby's finger, but not to worry we don't think it causes much pain to chop it off. Let me assure our deluded MSPs that a puppy’s tail is full of nerve endings, and amputation causes pain and stress.

Roseanna Cunningham says that only dogs destined to be gundogs will be put through this torture. How can the vet be sure of this when the pup is five days old? Why leave tails on in labradors and retrievers which are often used as gundogs?

The Environment Committee was told that 92 per cent of those taking part in a Government consultation supported this out-of-date practice. Seventeen thousand gundog owners were polled and only five per cent bothered to reply. They were asked how many of their dogs had received tail injuries in the year before the survey – 103 of the 17,000 had a tail injury that involved a trip to the vet, and about 20 required surgery to the tail. That is serious, but is it serious enough to justify 17,000 amputations without anaesthetic?

Why no anaesthetic? Is it because the vets find anaesthesia in a five-day-old puppy challenging, or is it because gundog owners don't want to pay the markedly increased cost of tail docking with an anaesthetic?

Your article states that the British Veterinary Association feels that bringing back this antiquated practice is a retrograde step for animal welfare. If that is the case then let it go further and lobby the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to ban vets from undertaking amputation of puppies’ tails without anaesthetic.

George Leslie,

North Glassock, Fenwick.