I WRITE in response to Sophie Wilkinson's letter on March 3 headed "'Puppies in Pain".

As so often is the case with animal welfare issues, it would appear that Ms Wilkinson hasn't really grasped the issue with full understanding.

My letter to which she replies addressed the issue of docking of working dogs, not cosmetic docking and in my opinion it is rather disingenuous to try andturn the argument to that exclusively.

Ms Wilkinson's letter uses emotive language in an attempt to strengthen propaganda a tried and tested route but sadly ignoring the facts.

A recent independent poll showed that 61 per cent of the public believed that the docking of tails on working dogs should not be banned.

This type of docking istermed "Prophylactic docking" a procedure which is carried out in order to prevent pain and serious complications later in life.

It is carried out only by vets.

The RSPCA in their animal welfare work carry out tens of thousands of neutering and speying operations on dogs and cats purely for the benefit of the owners.

This is far more significant in terms of an animal's freedom of expression, and a serious operation carried out on adult dogs, which causes significant changes to an animal's physiological and psychological being.

It is total hypocrisy that Ms Wilkinson chooses to focus on an issue which would have a negative impact on animal welfare, yet continue to support mutilation of male and female cats and dogs, whatever their future.

Sara Rutherford, Countryside Alliance, Romsey, Hants