AVMA Opposes Dog Ear Cropping, Tail Docking

Vet association affirms opposition to such procedures for purely cosmetic reasons.

Posted: November 29, 2008, 5 a.m. EST

The American Veterinary Medical Association Executive Board issued a revised policy on Wednesday clarifying its stance on ear cropping and tail docking.

The revised policy states: “The AVMA opposes ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done solely for cosmetic purposes. The AVMA encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards.”

“For many years the AVMA has acknowledged that ear cropping and tail docking of dogs for cosmetic purposes are not medically indicated nor of benefit to our canine patients,” said Ron DeHaven, DVM, chief executive officer of the AVMA. “Our latest policy revision doesn’t represent a change in perspective, but, rather, makes that perspective clear with a stronger statement.”

The decision to strengthen the association’s policy resulted from a scheduled review of the existing policy.

“Why we perform certain procedures is one of the first questions we ask,” said Gail Golab, DVM, director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division. “‘Cosmetic’ implies the basis for these procedures is to alter the dog’s appearance. Welfare risks identified included those associated with surgical procedures, i.e., anesthetic complications, pain, blood loss, and infection. In the committee’s opinion, the risk-benefit analysis supports professional opposition to performing these procedures for purely cosmetic reasons.”

However, AVMA points out that if the surgery is needed to protect the health and welfare of the dog — for therapeutic or preventive purposes — then it would support the appropriate surgery.

The American Kennel Club responded to the AVMA’s newly amended policy on ear cropping and tail docking, and stated that mislabeling these procedures as cosmetic was a “severe mischaracterization that connotes a lack of respect and knowledge of history and the function of purebred dogs.” The AKC also stated that breed standards are established and maintained by AKC parent clubs (each of the AKC-registered breeds is stewarded by a breed-specific parent club) keeping foremost in mind the welfare of the breed and the function it was bred to perform.


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Michael   Blaine, WA

9/24/2009 11:22:40 AM

OK people, I know that most people hear have dogs, and they would never want to see their dog go through pain, with that said i understand how many people want ear cropping and tail docking to stop, but the fact is that unless you have personal experienced with ear cropping and tail docking, then you can not comment on this. I have 24 years of experience with the Doberman Pincher, a breed that most of the time has the tail docked and ears cropped. If you are a responsible owner then you have both of these procedures done very early and by a trained experienced vet, and the dog does NOT suffer or experience pain. There are many other breeds that just wouldn't be the same if they didn't have their ears cropped and/or tail docked.

With that being said, I believe that we still live in America and its still(for now) a free country, so its the choice of the dog owner.

If you are still strongly against the ear cropping and tail docking, then i think you need to stop being a hypocrite and start taking a strong stance against Brest argumentation, nose jobs, tummy tucks, face lifts, and all other forms of COSMETIC surgery that humans do all the time that is very painful, and takes very unnecessary risk, because if you don't then you are saying that its OK for humans but not dogs, so then dogs are above humans and dogs welfare is more important than humans, now I love my dog but my family's well being is always ahead of them. The AVMA is so wrong on this one its

Seriously people think before you speak....

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mack   07030, NJ

6/21/2009 5:57:13 AM

Let's start doing it to little newborn babies since it's not a cruel thing to do.

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Dory   Lincoln, RI

6/18/2009 9:19:49 AM

I happen to own an 8 year old Australian shepard whose tail is docked. When we bought her she was eight weeks old and the procedure had already been done. She would be the same dog with a tail as she is without one. If you are not looking to show a dog, there is no point to having earcropping or taildocking done. I think it is a great idea to remove these procedures from breed standards to prevent the suffering of young puppies. If the breeder had asked me if I wanted my puppy's tail docked, I would have said no.

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S. Carlson   Palmetto, FL

12/2/2008 3:47:45 PM

Cropping, tail docking and dew claw removal should be the CHOICE of the owner of the dogs, not some off the wall PETA type people who don't like it. I have had both Great Danes and Dobermans, and the procedure is done when the puppies are very young by professionals, and it does not hurt the animals. If you do not like it, then just don't own dogs and don't give us grief about how we like our certain breeds of dogs kept. I have taped ears for many years and have never had a problem. Maybe we should outlaw plastic surgery while we're at it too. Put your "oh poor dog" energy into going after Amish breeders and puppy mills!

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