[Name and Westminster address of your MP]
Dear Sir /Mr/Mrs/ Ms [ ] MP
Action Plan for Animal Welfare – ear cropping.
I write to you in connection with the Governments publication of the above policy paper, released on 12 May 2021 following the Queen’s Speech on the 11 May 2021.
I hope that you are aware of the #FlopNotCrop #CutTheCrop campaign. This campaign is a collaborative campaign being advanced by The FOAL Group and The British Veterinary Association (BVA), where all leading stakeholders in animal welfare are calling on the Government to ban the importation of dogs with cropped ears. Their UK government petition exceeded 100,000 signatures in only 7 weeks, such is the strength of feeling on this issue.
Over the last 5 years the RSPCA have reported a 621% increase in reports of dogs with cropped ears, these findings are also replicated by their counterparts the SSPCA. The reports of this increase are also mirrored and supported by The Dogs Trust and Battersea. I trust you will agree that an increase of such proportions must not be ignored.
Ear cropping involves cutting part (or all) of a puppy’s ears off to create a particular ear shape, according to the owner’s desire. In recognition that there is no medical justification to ear cropping, the procedure itself, has been banned in the UK for over 100 years and is currently covered by s.5 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 as an illegal mutilation.
The Petitions Committee have set a date for this issue to be debated in Parliament on Monday 7th June, I would be grateful if you would add your support as my elected representative to the debate.
The current position in the UK is that, whilst it is illegal to conduct this mutilation, it is not illegal to import a dog with cropped ears. This has resulted in several issues.
The first being that owners and breeders can send their puppies abroad to be cropped and then returned to the UK, only to claim that the dog is a legal import. This quite frequently involves, not only transporting a puppy that is too young for travel but also means that if the cropping is done in a Country where cropping is also illegal, the enforcement agencies in that Country are not able to bring any prosecutions as the evidence, i.e. the cropped puppy, has left their jurisdiction.
It is worth noting that ear-cropping is illegal in most Member States of Europe.
The second issue is that the ability to import cropped dogs has also been relied upon by pro-croppers to hide a very dark back street practice, where breeders or owners are undertaking illegal DIY cropping. Quite frequently with no medical knowledge or training, rudimentary equipment, no anaesthetic and no post-operative pain relief for the dogs.
The ability to import cropped dogs also extends to rescue dogs. It is imperative that genuine rescue dogs are protected and not demonised due to the abuse they have suffered. But again, pro-croppers use this loophole to justify their dogs when challenged. Their argument fails however once you consider the breed and standard of their dogs. False rescues tend to be pedigree standard dogs. It takes a very short amount of basic research to discover that there simply are no genuine rescue centres full of pedigree standard cropped dogs.
The pain and suffering caused to the dogs does not cease post procedure. One of the breeds frequently cropped is a Dobermann. A very large and noble breed of dog also frequently trained and sold as a form of guard dog to celebrities and sportspersons. For Dobermann puppies, ear cropping can mean not only the severance of a significant part of their ear flap, but also months of splinting and/or taping to encourage the remaining ear to stand erect. This is not a guaranteed result, it can and does fail, leaving the dog either put through further surgery to try to obtain the original desired look or with one ear erect and one ear flopping. Wound infections are also not uncommon.
I am really pleased that the Government included this important issue in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare, as it cannot be right that we have a law in our Country that bans this barbaric procedure yet permits such cruelty through a backdoor legal loophole.
I should be grateful if you would add your support as my elected representative to the Government’s proposed Animals Abroad Bill when it comes for debate.