Dog with cropped ears looking up at the viewer
Mutilated For Money: RSPCA Calls For Ban On Imports Of Cropped Ear Dogs
17th April, 2023 09h39
New polling shows 87% of people want UK Government to make the ban
The RSPCA is urging the UK Government to keep its promise to ban imports into the UK of dogs with cropped ears - and new research shows that most people agree.
The call for a change in the law comes as the RSPCA launches its Mutilated for Money campaign, highlighting the horrific cruelty dogs go through during the barbaric procedure to crop their ears - and, in many cases, for the aim of the dog to look “tough”.
Whilst it is an illegal practice in the UK, it still happens. And shockingly, it isn’t illegal to import a dog with cropped ears into the country - making it harder to prove illegal cropping at home and leaving a loophole for owners to source dogs with cropped ears from abroad.
The UK Government had pledged to ban the import of dogs with cropped ears as part of its Kept Animal Bill - but there has been little movement on the bill since November 2021. The stalled Bill recently passed 500 days in limbo - heightening fears from the RSPCA that the UK Government could abandon their pledge.
The RSPCA has joined forces with Welsh charity Hope Rescue on the campaign which is aimed at reminding the public about the laws on cropped dogs and the welfare issues the procedure can cause pets.
It comes as new research* by the RSPCA shows:
- 87% of those surveyed believe that the UK Government should ban the importation of dogs with cropped ears;
- Just over one in 10 (11%) of those surveyed know somebody who owns a dog with cropped ears, which rises to over 1 in 5 (21%) of those aged 18 to 34;
- Over two in five of those surveyed said that they would either be nervous adopting a dog with cropped ears, or wouldn’t consider it at all, whilst 27% were unsure.
As part of the campaign, the RSPCA and Hope Rescue are urging people to write to their MP and ask for urgent change by cracking down on imports of dogs with cropped ears.
Last year, the RSPCA's emergency line received more than one report every single day about ear cropped dogs - with 391 incidents reported. From 2020 to 2022, 1,066 reports have been logged by the charity. So far in 2023, the RSPCA has received 124 reports about ear cropping.
Dr Sam Gaines, head of the RSPCA’s companion animals team, said: “Ear cropping is a painful and unnecessary practice in which a dogs’ ears are removed or surgically altered. It does not benefit the dog in any way and can actually be detrimental to their health, behaviour and welfare, but sadly many owners think the look is glamorous or makes their pet look tough.
“While we do have concerns that ear cropping is being carried out illegally, and underground, in this country, some dogs with cropped ears are being sent abroad to have the procedure done or are being imported deliberately from countries with less stringent animal welfare laws and regulations than here.
“Dogs should never be mutilated for cosmetic purposes and, while this practice has been illegal in this country for a long, long time, we’d like to see more regulation to ensure that it’s no longer possible to get a cropped dog in England and Wales, unless rescuing through a reputable organisation.
“Sadly, our rescuers continue to frequently see dogs who are suffering as a result of ear cropping - so regulations in the UK which will ban the importation of dogs with cropped ears will be so important.
“We know unscrupulous traders seek to circumvent the law and crop dogs' ears to try and make a quick buck, which is frustratingly fuelled by unhelpful social media trends. That's why we're urging the UK Government to work with us and our friends at Hope Rescue to launch a new promotional campaign, highlighting to dog owners the law and how dangerous ear cropping is for dogs. The UK Government also needs to revive its stalled Kept Animals Bill, to criminalise the import of these poor dogs with cropped ears.”
One dog in RSPCA care who underwent the procedure before being rescued is Henry.
Henry (pictured) arrived in the care of Hope Rescue as a stray in May 2022. The rescue received a call late at night from a concerned member of the public after finding Henry collapsed, unable to stand and emaciated. He had sadly had his ears cropped and was never claimed but has since found a wonderful foster home in South Wales.
Hope Rescue’s senior head of operations, Vanessa Waddon, said: “We’re deeply concerned about the increasing number of ear-cropped dogs coming into our care. In the last 12 months alone, we have taken in 12 ear-cropped dogs.
“Ear-cropping is a totally unnecessary and traumatic procedure, and its only purpose is to satisfy demand for a certain look. Poor Henry didn’t deserve to have his ears mutilated.
“We are urging the public to not buy into this cruelty and take action if they suspect illegal ear-cropping. We’re also urging the UK Government to close the loophole that allows importation of ear-cropped dogs and bring back the Kept Animals Bill before time runs out.”
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