Wednesday, March 28, 2007

To dock or not to dock

Deeply disappointed by yesterday's debate on the Animal Welfare Act. Needed a calming capuccino to settle me and dispel the disturbing black thought that the National Assembly had just shown itself to be unfit to make laws.

The issue was the docking of dogs tails. The new Act bans all tail docking for cosmetic reasons, but allows the practise to continue for working dogs. We were resolving which breeds to list as 'working dogs'. The Government had consulted widely, and my Committee had taken evidence and drawn up a proposed list. And then Lorraine Barrett proposed that the list be changed, removing crossbred spaniels and terriers. The Minister told us that this would open up a legal quagmire of definitions - and that it was going to be reviewed in 2 years time. Members backed Lorraine.

None of my annoyance was caused by Lorraine, who has always been clear that she is opposed to tail docking of any dogs - an entirely logical and acceptable stance to take, even if I disagree with it. But what AMs did was listen to Lorraine's 'from the heart' speech - and completely ignore the consultation, the Minister and the Committee. I thought this was knee jerk law making at its cavalier worst.

One Minister told me afterwards that he had 'voted in favour of the dogs' - as if Carwyn Jones and my Committee didn't. There are times in politics when patience is tested to endurance. You can see why I needed the cappuccino. Anyway, a nice Welsh lamb dish washed down with a glass or two of champagne at Garcon in the Bay last night has sorted me out. By tomorrow all will be forgotten when our great retriever of past glories, Cameron joins us to launch our manifesto in North Wales.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

tail docking is a cruel and barbarous practise which should be banned completely