An SNP MSP has said he wants to “keep under review” a controversial decision to relax a ban on docking puppies’ tails, less than a day after he voted it through.

John Mason supported the Scottish Government’s proposal to allow vets to shorten the tails of spaniels and hunt point retrievers by up to a third before they are five days old. He joined a majority of SNP and Tory MSPs on Wednesday afternoon to vote in favour of ending the outright ban introduced in 2007 as part of the Animal Health and Welfare Act, which also makes it illegal to take a dog out of Scotland to have its tail cut off.

But in an email to the animal welfare charity One Kind yesterday morning, Mason appears to have doubts: “I think we need to keep all this under review and if there is evidence in future of increased animal suffering, then we would need to look at it again,” he wrote.

He also said he said he found “it difficult to decide” as both sides of the debate were arguing for the welfare of animals.

His email, passed to The National, was in response to a briefing One Kind distributed to MSPs, ahead of the vote, saying veterinary bodies were opposed to any lifting of the ban and rebutting arguments made by field sports enthusiasts who wanted the ban relaxed.

The briefing sent out by One Kind to MSPs said: “The Scottish Government’s proposal to permit veterinary surgeons in Scotland to remove up to one third of the tails of spaniel and hunt point retriever puppies at five days old is overwhelmingly opposed by veterinary bodies and animal welfare charities as there is no evidence base to suggest that it would result in a net gain for animal welfare.

“The proposal would take Scotland from having a world-leading ban on tail docking to a level of protection that is weaker than in England and Wales. Polling by YouGov in 2016 suggested that 71 per cent of the Scottish public support the ban as it is.”

The SNP’s Christine Grahame opposed the changes, while nine of the party’s MSPs abstained – Clare Adamson, Ash Denham, Mairi Evans, Clare Haughey, Rona Mackay, Ruth Maguire, Ivan McKee, Christina McKelvie and Sandra White.

Libby Anderson, policy officer for One Kind, said MSPs did not have evidence to lift the ban.

“If there was evidence that it would benefit animal welfare, we would support it,” she said.

“The vote was very disappointing. The fact that one SNP MSP voted against and nine abstained shows the difficulty the Government found themselves in. Like John Mason, One Kind will be calling for the Government to keep this decision under review. We don’t want the Scottish Government to say this is now a done deal.”

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said on Wednesday evidence had shown gun dogs were at increased risk of harm if they did not have their tails docked.

Labour and the Scottish Greens opposed the changes, while the Conservatives were in favour along with a majority of the SNP. The LibDems were given a free vote.