The Scottish Parliament has successfully voted to permit tail docking for spaniel and hunt point retriever gundog puppies that are likely to be used in connection with shooting.

The Scottish Countryside Alliance, working closely with the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, BASC Scotland and the Scottish Association for Country Sports, lobbied parliamentarians to uphold the findings of the Scottish Government commissioned Glasgow University research which showed significant tail injuries to undocked working gundogs.

The successful vote follows a Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform committee evidence session where Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham (SNP) and veterinary adviser Andrew Voas faced stiff questioning from members Mark Ruskell MSP (Green) and Claudia Beamish MSP (Labour) calculated to reject the need for an exemption.

The motion by Ms Cunningham was passed by 7 votes to 3 in the committee debate and by 86 to 29 in the Holyrood chamber to pass the Prohibited Procedures on Protected Animals (Exemptions) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2017.

Scottish Countryside Alliance director Jamie Stewart said:

“After ten years of campaigning this is a momentous step towards protecting working gundogs in Scotland. It is pleasing to see the shooting community and Scottish Government working coherently, with the use of commissioned studies, to come to the correct conclusion. This vote shows that even when faced with public peer pressure, and in some instances aggression, parliamentarians will vote heavily in favour of scientific evidence and consideration.

“This positive outcome would not have been achieved without the assistance and determination from our members and supporters, for that we extremely grateful.”