Monday, October 06, 2008

Cropping and Docking: A Backgrounder and the Global Status Quo

I decided to research this topic further and found that the American Veterinary Medical Association's stance on cropping and docking is for vets to counsel people requesting them that the procedures cause ''pain and distress'', but AVMA stops short of condemning them.

According to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (which does indeed condemn both), the procedures have been illegal in Newfoundland and Labrador since 1978 and are outlawed in many European countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand. There are, of course, exceptions for medically justifiable reasons.

In Indiana, in 2002, a defendant was convicted of animal cruelty for cropping the ears of several puppies with office scissors without anesthesia. Furthermore: The court held that the evidence supported conviction for cruelty under the definition of "torture." Further evidence supported conviction for unauthorized practice where defendant engaged in a traditional veterinary surgical procedure and received remuneration for his services. I wonder if there've been similar cases in Canada?

For more information on the issues surrounding the practices of ear cropping and tail docking, check out "Cropping and Docking: A Discussion of the Controversy and the Role of Law in Preventing Unnecessary Cosmetic Surgery on Dogs" at the absolutely amazing Animal Law Web Centre. It discusses the history and legal status of the procedures. The UK's Anti Docking Alliance website features an article from a 1996 issue of the Australian Veterinary Journal that goes into greater detail about the medical issues related to tail docking, as well as the pain and suffering inherent in the procedure.

I commend the NBVMA's members for having taken the stance they have. I hope that the rest of the veterinary associations in Canada follow suit soon.

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