The "animal law war" over tail docking (New Zealand)

People have polarised perspectives about animals, and standards of animal care. There are plenty of examples to demonstrate that it's always been that way. 200 years ago opinion was divided as to whether there even needed to be a law to govern the treatment of animals. And today opinion continues to be divided on almost every use of animals from their involvement in entertainment (e.g. bullfighting, circuses, zoos), agricultural husbandry systems (e.g. hen cages, treatment of Bobby calves, and farrowing crates for pigs), right through to the latest issue affecting New Zealand dogs and dog breeders - tail docking.

The recent ban on tail docking continues to demonstrate conflicting views regarding standards of animal care. Have a look at the article titled "Corgi lovers at loggerheads over ban on dog tail docking" ( The article itself is interesting, but take a few moments to read the comments at the end of the article as well. This range of opinions, experiences and insights is what animal law endeavours to balance by asking two questions. Firstly, "does the practice/activity/use in question cause the animal pain or distress"? If the answer to the first question is yes, then the second question is "is the pain or distress unreasonable or unnecessary". The

Debates and polarised perspectives frequently revolve around the question of what different people feel is "necessary". As you read the comments at the end of the "Corgi lovers" article, you might like to keep that question in mind.

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