Ear cropping of dogs, time to make it illegal to own one.

dog ear cropping

If Dobermans and the other breeds were meant to have cropped ears they would be born with them.

The ear cropping of dogs in the UK has been banned since 2006 when the Animal Welfare Act made it illegal but it is still an increasingly common sight to see these dogs being openly paraded in the streets and on social media. Australia has also banned the procedure, but there are still many countries in Europe and also the USA where it is still prevalent and actively encouraged. And this is where the problem lies.

The ban, like many animal welfare laws in the UK was not given enough thought and was never fit for purpose because it did not make it illegal to own an ear cropped dog making it easy to import them ready cropped or to take the dog to another country to have it done and thus circumvent the law allowing the suffering to take place elsewhere.

New petitions in the U.K. and U.S.A to ban the import of ear cropped dogs.

The RSPCA has recently announced a 236% increase in the last five years of the number of reports of dogs with cropped ears and are backing a new petition instigated by a dog trainer and welfare campaigner calling for a ban on importing dogs who have had their ears cropped. Their figure of 178 reports is obviously woefully understated and just the tip of the iceberg. Only last week I followed two men walking down the high street each with a doberman, one a three month pup, with splinted ears. Unless you are familiar with the the ban you are probably unaware there is a problem with it.

A similar petition has also been begun in the USA where the procedure can be legally performed by a licensed Veterinarian and where the American Kennel Association encourages it for dog shows. U.S. veterinarians still perform the procedure even though their governing body the American Veterinary Medical Association opposes it.

Dogs operated on abroad to circumvent the ban.

There are companies that legally import dogs with cropped ears into the UK and there is nothing to stop owners taking their dogs to countries in Europe that still allow it or even the USA and bring them back. There is little point in reporting them as the owners can legitimately claim they were done abroad.

Cropping is purely cosmetic and has no health benefits. There is no medical evidence that it prevents ear infections as often claimed by its proponents or any other health benefits. It is an inhumane and unnecessary procedure that serves no purpose other than changing the appearance of a dog. It is done more for the vanity of the owner than the well-being of the dog and because of a perverse belief that it makes the dogs look the way they “should look” and more attractive and fiercer.

Sadly a petition to ban the importation of dogs with cropped ears last year failed to get even half the required 100,000 signatures required for the Government to debate it. Whether this is an indication of the lack of interest or support of dog lovers is difficult to deduce, but there is another Government petition due to end in August 2021 to stop “the rising numbers of ear cropped dogs in the UK” which is also floundering somewhat.

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Author: John Brookland

John Brookland has been passionate about animals from an early age and has always been more concerned about their individual health and well-being than any scientific or zoological interest. During his long and varied career in animal welfare in the U.K. and worldwide, he has unfortunately witnessed most of the horrors of animal cruelty there is to see and has gained extensive insight into animal welfare issues. On leaving school he trained as an RSPCA clinic assistant in London and later was manager of one of their veterinary hospitals and an animal centre. He was Chief Inspector and manager of the Bahamas Humane Society in Nassau and spent time in Trinidad advising on a humane stray dog control service, before becoming a deputy manager and animal health inspector at Heathrow's Animal Quarantine Centre. He then travelled the world for a conservation group investigating the capture and transport of wildlife for the pet trade and was an honorary consultant to the IUCN and CITES. He is now retired and still travelling the world with his partner to view wildlife and wild places and writing a blog and books on animals.