In early February, the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association voted to make it unprofessional conduct for veterinarians to crop the ears of any animal for cosmetic reasons. Five other provinces have already done this: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Saskatchewan. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, have made it unprofessional conduct for veterinarians to perform any cosmetic surgery on any animal, thereby including both tail docking and ear cropping.

Ear cropping and/or tail docking began many years ago when they were written into some breed standards, such as Dobermans, Boxers, Great Danes, Schnauzers and some terriers. Both procedures are already banned in Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia and many European countries. The Canadian and the American Veterinary Medical Associations also oppose cosmetic surgery on any animal.

These procedures are done purely for cosmetic reasons to create a certain look and provide no health or medical benefits for the animals. Ear cropping involves cutting off a significant portion of the dog’s ear and taping the remaining portion for a period of time to make the ears stand up. There can be no justification for such a barbaric practice.

Supporters of tail docking argue that tails are docked to prevent injuries in the field. However, this doesn’t hold up when spaniels and some pointers are docked and retrievers and some other pointing breeds are not.

The CFHS calls on breed clubs and kennel clubs to take the lead by changing breed standards to accept only natural ears and tails. We also urge the remaining provincial veterinary medical associations to take a stand against these unnecessary procedures. The CFHS will continue to educate the public about the pain and suffering caused by these completely unnecessary alterations, done purely for cosmetic reasons.


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