Manitoba bans cosmetic ear cropping; other provinces may follow suit


Winnipeg, Canada -- Manitoba veterinarians who perform cosmetic ear cropping on dogs could lose their veterinary licenses, according to veterinary regulators.

Winnipeg, Canada

— Manitoba veterinarians who perform cosmetic ear cropping on dogs could lose their licenses, according to new mandates by the province's regulatory board.

The new rules also call for fines up to $30,000 if cosmetic ear cropping is done by a non-veterinarian. The new mandates were handed down by the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association--a group that also acts as the provincial veterinary board.

MVMA contends that ear cropping is unnecessary for dogs and causes pain and distress without medical benefits. The new rules would not apply for ear cropping performed in cases of injury or for medial purposes, MVMA adds.

Simone Gillies, communications and regulatory associate for MVMA, says veterinarians who defy the ban would go through a disciplinary process before a peer-review committee with MVMA. Penalties leveraged could range from a letter of reprimand to revoking a practitioner’s license.

But despite the mandate, Gillies says ear cropping has fallen out of favor for most veterinarians in the province.

“It’s a moot point, anyway,” she says.

But breed groups have been ruffled by the ban, which would result in fines for laypersons performing ear cropping—or any other veterinary surgical procedure. Fines range from $5,000 for a first offense and $30,000 for a second offense. Non-veterinarian violators also could be charged under the Animal Care Act, according to MVMA.

Manitoba is not the first Canadian veterinary medical association to institute an ear-cropping ban. Gillies says most provinces on the east coast of the country banned the practice in the 1970s. Now, veterinary regulators in Alberta and British Columbia are considering instituting similar bans.

State ear-cropping bans in the United States have been met with opposition—including a failed Illinois proposal in 2009 that would have classified cosmetic ear cropping as “animal torture.” The American Veterinary Medical Association denounced cosmetic ear cropping in 2008, and Banfield Pet Hospital discontinued both ear cropping and tail docking for cosmetic purposes in 2009.

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