In what is undoubtedly a huge move in the canine community, the British Columbia College of Veterinarians has voted to ban the practice of cropping dogs’ ears for cosmetic purposes. Although the practice was at one time considered a practical procedure for certain breeds, ear cropping has since been performed primarily to uphold notions of breed standards, though occasionally it is done for medical purposes. Cropping also requires a surgical procedure to complete, sometimes involving consistent re-taping of the ears so they remain erect.
Larry Ode, the College Registrar, cited the ethical responsibility that all veterinarians have to protect and nurture the wellbeing of their puppy patients, and he believes that “ear cropping goes against that responsibility,” unless carried out in cases of injury or other health concerns.
While there is no evidence to support a medical benefit for cosmetic procedures, there is plenty that shows the adverse effects on behavior and dogs’ ability to express themselves.
Also, just as many laud the college for their decision, others still oppose the ban. The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) upholds the right of breeders to make their own choices on behalf of their dogs:
The practice of ear cropping is a significant part of the history of many breeds or purebred dogs. Breeders of purebred dogs continue this practice for not only historical reasons but also to promote safety in performance activities and to promote hygienic animal husbandry.
The vote has the full support of the B.C. SPCA who, for nearly two decades, have openly opposed these procedures which “impact an animal’s ability to experience good welfare and express natural behaviors.” SPCA CEO Craig Daniell says:
This decision […] is a significant step forward in the humane treatment of animals… and we are extremely pleased to support and endorse this change.
Flop free, little one, flop free.