A Canadian province has banned ear cropping in dogs, calling it “an unnecessary procedure.”
The College of Veterinarians of British Columbia has said that the surgical procedure — which is typically seen in breeds like Pit Bulls, Boxers and Doberman Pinschers — can no longer be performed by veterinarians, breeders or dog owners themselves, CBC News reports.
“Ear cropping is an unnecessary procedure unless carried out in cases of injury or for reasons of health concerns,” college registrar Larry Ode said in a statement, according to CBC News.
Any veterinarians who are caught performing the procedure could now face sanctions, including losing their licenses or being charged with animal cruelty.
The decision has been praised by some organizations, criticized by others. The British Columbia SPCA has applauded the ban and has pointed out that not only was ear cropping akin to amputation, it could also inhibit a dog’s ability to communicate.
“Dogs are very expressive and they gain a lot of signals, gain and give a lot of signals by reading each other’s ears,” Marcie Moriarty, a BC SPCA officer, told News 1130. “There is some literature out there that suggests that dogs who have cropped ears give mixed signals, which can end up being problematic.”
Meanwhile, the Canadian Kennel Club says that breeders and veterinarians should be allowed to decide for themselves whether to crop a dog’s ears.
“The practice of ear cropping is a significant part of the history of many breeds or purebred dogs,” the CKC said in a statement. “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.”
Ear cropping is not banned in the United States, although it has previously been prohibited in several other Canadian provinces, many countries in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.