Leading UK vet calls for outright ban on owning a dog with cropped ears after BBC panorama documentary

The RSPCA has raised the issue regarding ear cropping, reporting a 236 per cent increase in the number of reports of ear cropping between 2015 and 2019

Following a BBC Panorama show that was aired on Monday, January 23 that looked into  extreme dog breeding, one of the UK’s leading vets has called for new legislation in the UK which would make it illegal to own a dog with cropped ears.

Ear cropping is reportedly a growing problem in the UK, occurring in breeds such as American Bullies and XL Bullies. Ear cropping is an unnecessary surgical procedure in which a dog’s ears are removed or altered.

Ear cropping has no benefits for the dog and can cause permanent damage. It’s currently illegal for a dog’s ears to be cropped in the UK, and proposals for a ban on importing dogs with cropped ears have been put forward by the Government.

Vet Dave Martin, in his role as Animal Welfare Advisor at Europe’s largest veterinary group IVC Evidensia said: “We need to urgently relook at legislation in the UK to prevent the serious rise in ear cropping which we’ve witnessed in recent years.”

Dave, who has practised as a veterinary surgeon for over 25 years said: “The message from vets is clear: ear cropping is not a fashion statement – it’s mutilation, and pet owners should not seek out dogs whose ears have been mutilated.”

Dave says that owners crop ears or buy dogs with cropped ears due to a status symbol. He continued to say ““At the moment the legislation in the UK is very hard to enforce unless you actually catch someone in the act of cropping the dog’s ears.

“It’s not currently illegal for someone to own a dog with cropped ears.  So, if an owner were challenged by enforcement agencies, they’d just say ‘I bought the dog like this’ and there’s no liability.”

Dave explained how a cropped ear ownership ban would work: “We’d propose that any dogs who already have cropped ears at the time the ban is due to come into force, must be registered on a database, which enforcement agencies and the veterinary profession would have access to.

“And for anyone owning an unregistered dog with cropped ears after the legislation comes into effect, then it’s a criminal offence.”