Despite ear cropping and tail docking being illegal in the UK, you don’t have to look very far to see that the practice is still going on. And with celebrities like Marcus Rashford and Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock posting Instagram pictures of their modified pups, it seems that this cruel and unnecessary practise is not only accepted but largely glorified.
Cropped ears and docked tails is a tradition that has come to be expected in breeds such as Dobermans, Schnauzers and various Bulldogs, as well as working dogs like Spaniels, German Shorthaired Pointers and Terriers.
This bizarre process is deemed normal under the pretence that it’s to preserve the breed’s characteristics or for the safety of working dogs. Yet, there is very little evidence to support the belief that protects the dog. If people were surgically altered without their consent or anaesthetic, it would be barbaric and preposterous.
It seems we Brits go mad for our dog breeds yet fail to really think about the dog’s pain to look that way. And while the government deems it illegal, loopholes make this law ineffective in many ways. After all, how many Spaniels do you know that are actually working dogs? And still their tails are being docked.
What’s so bad about it?
The process in itself is deeply concerning when you consider that the puppies are not generally not given aesthetic throughout the process because they’re deemed not yet alert enough to feel the pain. This theory would then suggest that newborn babies are not able to feel pain either?
PETA state that the “ears are cropped when the dog is just 8 to 12 weeks old. At this stage in their development, the trauma of the procedure can have a strong psychological impact on the maturing pup. And the process of taping and retaping a pup’s ears to force them to stand erect after they have been cropped can be agonizing for the dog.’’
When we caught up with Elisa Allen, PETA’s Director, here’s what else she had to say on the matter:
“When you consider that many animals become distressed when handled – even for routine procedures such as nail-trimming – it’s clear that subjecting them to mutilations of any kind when there’s no medical necessity for doing so cannot be justified.”
“Ear-cropping is a painful mutilation that involves cutting off the majority of a dog’s extremely sensitive ears and taping the remnants into an unnatural, “devilish” shape for aesthetic reasons. Tail-docking is a form of amputation involving the removal – either partial or complete – of a dog’s tail and is often done without pain relief. Dogs’ ears and tails are there for a purpose.”
The effects of ear cropping and tailing docking do not end with procedure either; removing these body parts alter the dog’s life completely – hindering their ability to communicate. Eliza Allen stresses that “dogs use their ears and their tails to “talk” to their human companions and other dogs. Hacking them off not only is traumatic but also robs them of vital forms of expression, communication, and balance.”
A study also found that dogs with docked tails are twice as likely to have an aggressive encounter with another dog than a long-tail dog would, primarily because they cannot give out the same signals of friendliness.
And when a wagging tail is one of the clearest signs of happiness and bonding between a dog and its owner, why then would you want to remove that?
Speaking to the British Veterinary Association, Senior Vice President Daniella Dos Santos stated that:
“Ear cropping is a painful, cruel and unnecessary surgical procedure where the floppy part of a puppy’s ear is cut off, often without anaesthesia or pain relief. It has no medical or welfare benefits for the dogs. In recent years, vets and animal welfare charities in the UK have seen a dramatic increase in the number of dogs with cropped ears, marking a frightening trend towards normalising this illegal mutilation.”
“However, despite being illegal in the UK, unscrupulous breeders use loopholes to import dogs with cropped ears from countries outside the UK where the procedure is still legal, or sending dogs bred in the UK overseas for the procedure. These loopholes also act as a smokescreen for illegal cropping taking place within the UK.”
“As part of our #CutTheCrop campaign, we are calling on the Government to close all legal loopholes and end the trend in ear-cropped dogs for good. We would urge all members of the public to sign our petition.”
What Can You Do?
If you’re tired of seeing dogs suffer for the sake of‘ ‘maintaining character’ and you want to see this outdated and cruel practice finally abolished, then join the British Veterinary Association in the #CutTheCrop campaign and sign the petition today!
The petition can be found online at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/574305.
It’s also important to avoid buying puppies like Spaniels and Terriers that have docked tails. You might think that you’re saving the puppy, but unfortunately, you’re just continuing the trend of docked tailed working dogs. Breeders will insist that it’s necessary when there is actually very little evidence to suggest that the short tail increases the dogs level of safety.
As PETA’s Elisa Allen so beautifully puts it, “dogs love humans regardless of the way we look – we must extend the same kindness to them.”
It’s over to you now.