Cropping ears and docking tails is wrong.
I will never accept an argument from anyone who says that there are times when it is acceptable. It isn't. As a recent article in the Washington Post makes clear (click here for the link to the article ) dogs are born with tails and ears (except some are born without tails) but if they are born with tails and ears then they should stay that way.
In this regard the Kennel Clubs have a lot to answer for, especially the American Kennel Club that still requires docking and cropping as part of the breed standard.
The Canadian Kennel Club typically is on the fence (as it always is - it just can't bring itself to take a stand on certain issues like cropping and docking and also the use of shock collars), because basically, in my opinion, its leaders are contemptible, immoral and should be replaced.
The CKC statement on the subject includes this (it witters on with many excuses, but I chose short passage)
“…While none of the 175 Canadian Kennel Club breed standards require that a dog have cropped ears, we continue to support breeders whose breeds have traditionally been cropped and docked and encourage continued choice for veterinarians to provide these services to individuals seeking them.
CKC is attentive to changing societal values with respect to purebred dogs and affirms that ear cropping and tail docking are a significant part of the history of many breeds. Breeders continue this practice for historical reasons but primarily due to safety concerns with working dogs…”
In their position statement, another of the CKC’s risible reasons for not standing against docking and cropping are basically that people could go and get it done in the USA.
Well guys, if you make it NOT a part of the breed standard in Canada, if Canadians want to show in Canada they aren't going to go to the USA and get it done, are they?
Basically, they are talking a whole shed load of tosh. And that is me being polite.
The CKC and the AKC should be STANDING UP for the welfare of dogs, and that includes removing certain things from breed standards, one of which is cropping and docking. (Don’t even get me started on the brachycephalic breeds and the issues that the CKC and AKC should be addressing with those breed standards; I could do a whole blog post on just that).
In many parts of Canada cropping and docking are illegal. In BC the College of Veterinarians, the governing body of Veterinarians practising in BC, does not allow vets to perform docking or cropping.
As usual, Canada is light years behind Europe (unfortunately, they are spectacularly behind Europe in so many things and animal welfare is just one of them). Docking and cropping has been illegal in most parts of Europe for many years.
There are other reasons for not cropping or docking.
Depriving a dog of a tail in my opinion is cruel. Dogs use their tails to signal their intention and their mood to other dogs and to humans. Their tail is like a flag. Other dogs can see at a distance what the approaching dog is conveying by the position of its tail. We humans can also tell a lot about a strange dog, or even our own dog by the way it holds its tail, and if it’s wagging, the position of the tail while it’s wagging and the speed (not all tail wagging means a dog is happy to see you). Deprive a dog of a tail and you deprive a dog of a means of communication to its own kind and to us humans.
Likewise when ears are cropped. In breeds such as Dobermans and Gt Danes, for example, those cropped ears can give the dog an intense look which can be unsettling for humans certainly. Does it give off the same signal to other dogs? I believe it certainly can. It can make them look somewhat threatening. It’s possible that dogs deprived of these means of communication may end up getting into difficult situations through no fault of their own.
It’s time that humans stopped messing about with tails and ears and allowed dogs to be what they are.
It’s time that the AKC and the CKC started putting the welfare of dogs FIRST.
If they change the breed standards then one would hope that welfare and sanity will follow.