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Cropping is the removal of part or all of the pinnae or auricles, the external visible flap of the ear, of an animal; it sometimes involves taping to make the ears pointy. Most commonly performed on dogs, it is an ancient practice that was once done for perceived health, practical or cosmetic reasons. In modern times, it is banned in many nations, but is still legal in a limited number of countries. Where permitted, it is seen only in certain breeds of dog such as the Pit bull, Miniature Pinscher, Doberman Pinscher, Schnauzer, Great Dane, Boxer, Caucasian Shepherd Dog and Beauceron.
The veterinary procedure is known as cosmetic otoplasty. Current veterinary science provides no medical or physical advantage to the animal from the procedure, leading to concerns over animal cruelty related to performing unnecessary surgery on the animals. In addition to the bans in place in countries around the world, it is described in some veterinary texts as "no longer considered ethical."
Cropping of large portions of the pinnae of other animals is rare, although the clipping of identifying shapes in the pinnae of , called earmarks, was common prior to the introduction of compulsory ear tags. Removal of portions of the ear of laboratory mice for identification, i.e. ear-notching, is still used. The practice of cropping for cosmetic purposes is rare in non-canines, although some selectively bred animals have naturally small ears which can be mistaken for cropping.
Ear cropping has been performed on dogs since ancient times.
Historically, cropping was performed on working dogs in order to decrease the risk of health complications, such as ear infections or hematomas. Crops were also performed on dogs that might need to fight, either while hunting animals that might fight back or while defending herds from predators, or because they were used for pit-fighting sports such as dogfighting or bear-baiting. The ears were an easy target for an opposing animal to grab or tear.
|Country||Status||Ban/restriction date (if applicable)|
|Austria||Banned||1 January 2005|
|Brazil||Banned for cosmetic purposes|
|Canada||Canada has no federal law banning pet cosmetic surgery. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association opposes all cosmetic alterations. Two provinces have provincial legislation prohibiting ear cropping, tail docking, and most cosmetic surgeries: Prince Edward Island (☨1) and Newfoundland and Labrador (☨2).
Three province's veterinary associations ban all veterinarians from performing cosmetic surgeries on pets: New Brunswick (☨3), Nova Scotia (☨4), and Quebec (☨5)
Three provincial veterinary associations have bans on ear cropping alone: Manitoba (☨6), British Columbia, and Saskatchewan (☨8).
☨1: 10 July 2015. ☨2: 1978
|Denmark||Banned||1 June 1996|
|Finland||Banned||1 July 1996|
|France||Banned, except tail-docking||1 January 2010|
|Germany||Banned||1 May 1992|
|India||Previously restricted, currently unrestricted|
|Italy||Banned or unclear|
|Morocco||Unrestricted - Morocco has no animal protection laws|
|Netherlands||Banned||1 September 2001|
|Slovakia||Banned||1 January 2003|
|South Africa||Banned||June 2008|
|Spain||Banned in autonomies of Catalonia and Andalucia|
|United States||Unrestricted (some states, including New York and Vermont, have considered bills to make the practice illegal)||2003|
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