Government officials in Northern Ireland have been asked to reconsider a controversial piece of legislation on tail docking, after hearing evidence from representatives of the UK's largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
BASC's Northern Ireland officer Tommy Mayne and head of game and gamekeeping Tom Blades gave evidence to the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee at Stormont today on the Dog (Amendment) Bill and Welfare of Animals Bill.
They were joined by BASC members, Jim Shannon MP and veterinarian Tony Patterson. The team gave a robust and comprehensive case to the committee, arguing for an exemption within the Welfare of Animals Bill, which would allow the docking of working dogs' tails.
Agriculture & Rural Development Committee members Francie Molloy (Sinn Fein) and Trevor Clarke (DUP), in particular, were very vocal in their opposition to a total ban on tail docking and called for the tail docking clause to be dropped.
The chairman of the committee Stephen Moutray (DUP) then asked Department of Agriculture and Rural Development officials to re-consider their position and report again to the committee in a week's time.
BASC also outlined its opposition to a proposed increase in the dog licence fee and compulsory micro-chipping.
Tommy Mayne said: "We are heartened to hear that members of the committee recognise the clear need for an exemption for working dogs from a ban on tail docking, however there is still significant work to be done. Members should continue to lobby their MLAs, they can find details of how to do this on our website. BASC would like to thank Jim Shannon MP and the Ulster Farmers Union, which has supported BASC's position on these issues."
For more information, phone Tommy Mayne on 07775400531 or the BASC press office on 01244 573031