Following the recent comments made by SNP Councillor Christopher McEleny please find below a statement from Jamie Stewart, the Director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance:

Never far from a contentious statement, SNP Councillor Christopher McEleny has hit the headlines with his demands that SNP members attending the Autumn conference be given the opportunity to voice an opinion on the Scottish Government’s decision to allow the shortening of the tails of certain working dog breeds.

The Scottish Government banned tail docking in 2007 with the intention of ending the aesthetic docking associated with outdated breed standards. However well-intended, the ban failed to account for working gundogs or address the welfare concerns of those dogs suffering tail damage.

This situation was amended when, having been subject to commissioned university research, committee and full parliamentary debate, the decision to allow a small number of breeds to have prophylactic tail shortening was passed on a vote of 86 for and 29 against.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “We firmly believe that shortening the tails of puppies that are at risk of tail injury while engaged in lawful shooting activities in later life will improve the welfare of those dogs.”

SNP Cllr Christopher McEleny seemed to understand the democratic process while campaigning to be Nicola Sturgeons deputy. When questioned on striking the right balance between having policy debate within the party while avoiding splits and division, Cllr McEleny said “We are a democratic party. I have the confidence that we are capable of debating any issue, putting forward our points, then agreeing on a decision and supporting it as party policy.”

Sadly his commitment to the democratic process seems to have faded.