Campaign to end cruel trade of dog ear cropping

The UK’s animal welfare bodies and veterinary professional are calling for an end to the horrific and cruel canine trade of ear cropping.

Following an increase in demand for dogs with cropped ears, and a rise in celebrities and social media sites glamourising the trade, enough is enough.

The ‘trend’ to crop a dog’s ears is barbaric – it impacts the dogs health, behaviour and welfare. It is an incredibly tortuous and painful procedure for the dog.

It is an unnecessary, agonizing mutilation with no welfare benefit or medical reasoning. The practice involves cutting off part of the ear flap, often without aesthesia or pain relief.

Whilst it is illegal to crop in the UK [Section 5 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006], it’s not illegal to sell ear-cropped dogs, import them from abroad or take dogs abroad to be cropped. These loopholes act as a smokescreen for those illegally cropping in UK. The latest petition calls on the Government to close these loopholes and end the trend in ear-cropped dogs for good.

What is wrong with ear cropping?

  • It is incredibly painful and distressing for the dog
  • Can cause other medical problems for the dog – hearing, infections and death
  • There is no scientific reason or benefit for the dog’s welfare
  • Dogs use their ears to hear and communicate with other dogs and humans – deforming them severely impacts this

Cruel breeders importing and selling these dogs in the UK often claim false medical reasons for cropping which are categorically untrue.

The practice of ear cropping is illegal in all EU countries but is legal in America and whilst illegal here in the UK, the cropped look is becoming normalised and glamourised – due to an increase in cropped dogs being owned by celebrities and even used commercially.

Many believe that certain dog breeds should have their ears surgically altered or even completely removed for aesthetic reasons. There is a misconception that dogs look ‘scarier’ with cropped ears and work better as security dogs for example.

Director at the FOAL group, animal behaviourist and e-petition founder Jordan Shelley comments: “We started to campaign on the issue of ear cropping 8-months ago. The number of celebrities with cropped dogs and companies using them in advertising was a real driver to launch the petition – we needed to stop the racing normalisation of this abhorrent illegal mutilation.

“In the UK, the ability to import dogs with cropped ears is acting as a smokescreen for those cropping illegally within the UK. Importing cropped dogs to the UK is also creating a really difficult job for enforcement across the EU where the procedure is illegal in every member state, as trying to win a legal case without the key piece of evidence [the dog] is virtually impossible. Cropped dogs are often being sold for tens of thousands of pounds which unfortunately can make the international trade in mutilated dogs a huge income stream. It is time as a great animal loving nation that we say no to this trade – it is exactly why we are asking government to look at how we can stop this worrying trend.”

TV Vet and Author Rory Cowlam comments: “Since 2006, it has been illegal to crop the ears of dogs. It is well regarded that ear cropping is an unnecessary, painful and cruel mutilation of dogs, simply to make them look “tougher”. Why then, have we seen such a sharp rise in reports of these dogs over the last five years? Unfortunately, like many other animal welfare issues, social media and celebrities posing with their tough looking protection dogs, alongside the increase in importing dogs into the UK is responsible.

“Not only are these dogs being subjected to unnecessary surgery, but they are sparking a terrifying fashion trend which is leading to concerns over people importing dogs illegally as well as doing “at-home” ear cropping, a clear animal welfare concern. We are calling for the law to be changed to stop people importing these dogs and nip this trend in the bud. As a nation of dog lovers, it is our duty to protect these amazing animals and stop this becoming even more of an animal welfare crisis.”

The e-petition has now received 60,000 signatures – the aim is to achieve 100,000 to ensure this issue is considered for debate in Parliament and the legal loopholes are amended.

You can sign it here