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Ear cropping and tail docking: why are both practices banned?

Did you know that those procedures are banned in 8 provinces in Canada? In some European countries, it is even forbidden to enter a dog with cropped ears in a canine competition. The team at Passionimo explains the reasons behind this ban…

Are ear cropping and tail docking procedures prohibited in Quebec?

The Quebec Order of Veterinarians (OMVQ), the governing body of veterinarians in the province, adopted new rules banning those cosmetic procedures on January 1, 2017.
 
However, the procedures can still be performed for medical reasons. For instance, in case of a tumour diagnosed in a dog tail, a veterinarian can perform a surgery to amputate part of the tail.
 

Why the ban on those procedures?

Because they have no positive health effects for the animals. They are strictly cosmetic procedures.
 
The tail plays a major role in a dog’s life, including as a tool to communicate with other dogs. The same goes for ears: humans can interpret part of a dog’s body language simply through the ear positions.
 
Ear cropping is a very painful procedure and requires regular dressing changes over several days or even weeks. The wounds bleed heavily and may get infected. And in the end, all of this pain is inflicted on dogs simply to meet beauty criteria established by humans.
 

What breeds are the most affected by ear cropping and tail docking procedures?

In terms of ear cropping, Dobermans rank first because it allegedly gives them a more aggressive look. (If you’re curious, do a picture search online to compare Dobermans with and without cropped ears.) Other breeds targeted by this practice include Boxers, Great Danes, and Pitbull-type breeds. Those dogs are often used for dogfighting, which can lead to ear injuries.
 
Dobermans, Boxers, Schnauzers, Spaniels, Rottweilers, and Pointers are most often targeted for tail docking. Some defenders of this practice argue that it reduces the risk of injuries. While it’s true, it’s akin to pre-emptively removing a child’s teeth to prevent cavities!
 
It’s important to remember that the tail plays a key role in communications between dogs. It also helps humans to decode the signals our pets are sending to us.
 

So why do we still see so many dogs with cropped ears or a docked tail?

The procedures are still permitted in Ontario, Alberta, and in the United States. If you decide to put your dog through this surgery, should there be any complications, you will have to seek veterinary help outside the province.
 
Despite the ban, about 30% of veterinarians reported seeing animals who had either procedure done in their practice. If you purchase a dog with cropped ears or a docked tail, please make sure that the procedure was done by a veterinarian. Request the dog’s medical record.
 
Some unscrupulous people could have performed the procedure themselves, without the use of anesthesia or analgesia and the proper sterile equipment. This is animal cruelty, subject to fines. Dogs can suffer from chronic pain due to a botched amputation done without proper care.
 

What can be done to change this?

Things will truly change when people stop requesting dogs with cropped ears or a docked tail. We have to learn to love dogs for their natural beauty!
 
For more information on the position of veterinary associations on this topic (in French):