Ear cropping: Never put your puppy through this cruel procedure… no matter what


By Dr. Becker

The College of Veterinarians of the Province of British Columbia in Canada (CVBC) recently banned the practice of cropping dogs’ ears for cosmetic purposes. The procedure involves the surgical removal of two-thirds to three-quarters of a dog’s ears, with the aim of straightening them.

“This decision by the CVBC to make ear cropping for cosmetic purposes an unethical practice in veterinary medicine is an important step forward in the humane treatment of animals in our province,” said Craig Daniell of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of British Columbia: “and we are extremely happy to support and approve this change.1

Veterinarians practicing in British Columbia who crop ears will now be charged with the unethical practice of veterinary medicine and will be subject to disciplinary action.

Ear Cropping Explained

Ear cropping is usually done when a puppy is between 8 and 10 weeks old.

The procedure is carried out under General anaesthesia. A dog’s ears have many nerve endings and the pain this surgery would cause without anesthesia is extreme.

Cropping involves the surgical removal of approximately two-thirds of the pinna, or soft part of both ears. The remaining fabric is then tightly taped in a vertical position. Pain medications may or may not be given after a refocusing procedure.

Over the following weeks or months, the damaged ears will be taped and glued back together to put them straight again. This process may or may not produce the desired result. Many cropped puppies, even after weeks or months of registration, still have floppy ears.

Cropping can also disfigure the ears, leaving them scarred or bent.

In the United States, American Kennel Club (AKC) breeds with traditionally cropped ears include:2

Boxer Giant Schnauzer
Doberman Pinscher Brussels Griffon
Great Dane Standard Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzer Neapolitan mastiff
Boston Terrier Manchester Terrier
Cane Corso Briard
Miniature Pinscher German Pinscher
American Staffordshire Terrier Affenpinscher
Bouvier des Flandres Beauceron

What is the reason for cropping a dog’s ears?

In my opinion and that of many others in the veterinary and animal welfare community, there is absolutely no justifiable reason to mutilate a dog’s ears for cosmetic purposes.

What’s infuriating is that in some breeds, like the Doberman Pinscher, this is done to make the animal more threatening.

Another excuse is that crops reduce the incidence of ear infections as it provides increased airflow to the ear canal. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim, and in my opinion, it is complete nonsense.

Proponents of breeding also argue that most breed standards do not allow the breeding of unbred animals. The AKC, while it does not have rules specifically requiring ear cropping, is not likely to rate unclipped show dogs of certain breeds highly for conformation.

Standards for certain cultivated breeds establish severe penalties for uncultivated animals.

The result is that many dog ​​owners who wish to show their animals feel obligated to crop them in order to compete in the ring, and the AKC’s position on cosmetic procedures to meet breed standards encourages this practice:

“We recognize that ear docking and tail docking, as prescribed in certain breed standards, are acceptable practices that are an integral part of defining and preserving breed character, enhancing good health and injury prevention.”3

Is ear cropping harmful to dogs?

Just as there is a use and purpose for every organ and appendage you are born with, the same is true for your dog.

All ear cropping methods cause suffering to the animal, and many dogs experience the phantom pain of a missing appendix, much like human amputees do.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) lists three welfare concerns related to ear cutting:4

  • General anaesthesia. Culture must always be performed under full anesthesia, which carries risks.
  • Postoperative care. Dogs will experience some discomfort during healing, stretching, restaging and bandaging, and other handling after surgery.
  • Some will need to have their ears taped or taped for days or even months, and they may be isolated from other dogs during this time.

  • Potential complications. As with any incision, cut ears can become infected. Cropped ears may also not stand upright or have a distorted shape or position, which could lead to subsequent operations.

The AVMA’s position in 1999:

“Cut off the ears and docked tail in dog for aesthetic reasons, are neither medically indicated nor beneficial for the patient. These procedures cause pain and distress and, like all surgical procedures, carry inherent risks of anesthesia, blood loss and infection.

Therefore, veterinarians should advise dog owners on these issues before agreeing to perform these operations. »5

In 2008 and again in 2012, the AVMA added the following to its official position (much to the dismay of the AKC):

“The AVMA opposes ear docking and tail docking of dogs when it is done solely for cosmetic purposes. The AVMA encourages the elimination of ear docking and tail docking breed standards.” 6

My opinion is that the ideal “standard” for appearance and function of your canine companion is quite evident from birth. His ears and tail were created exactly as they were supposed to be.

Other places where corn cutting is currently prohibited or restricted

Many Canadian provinces, in addition to British Columbia, prohibit ear cutting, including Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan. The Kennel Club of the United Kingdom not only supports the ban on ear cropping, but also prohibits dogs with cropped ears from participating in shows.

Ear cutting is also banned in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe. In the United States, this practice is regulated in some states, including Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington.


Related Articles:

  Declawing: the barbaric routine procedure that owners unfortunately still demand

  The Top Two Painful Procedures Your Puppy Should Never Have to Undergo

  Could ear mites be the cause of your pet’s itchy ears?

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