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Local vets issue warning after figures reveal ‘cruel’ illegal dog ear cropping trend is soaring in the North West

77% of small animal vets in the North West have been presented with dogs with cropped ears in the last year.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 9th June 2021

Vets are issuing warnings about a “cruel” and “unnecessary” illegal dog trend that appears to be gaining popularity across the North West region.

Pet owners are being urged not to subject their dogs to the practice of having their ears cropped in light of shocking new statistics, reports Lancashire Live.

A survey carried out by the British Veterinary Association Voice of the Veterinary Profession has revealed that 77% of small animal vets in the North West have seen dogs with cropped ears in the last year.

The region’s figure is also well above the national average of 58%.

The practice of cropping dogs’ ears is illegal in the UK, but a loophole means that dogs with cropped ears can be imported if the procedure has been done outside the country. Many vets believe this may be a contributing factor as to why they’ve seen more dogs with cropped ears in the last twelve months than they have in previous years.


Measures to close these loopholes were announced last month, with the government pledging to ban the import of dogs with cropped ears after a petition calling for action passed 100,000 signatures.

The issue was debated in Parliament this week (7 June 2021).


Statistics reveal that nationally, the Doberman was the breed most commonly presented to vets with cropped ears.

American Bulldogs and Cane Corsos were the second and third most likely breeds to be seen.

Robin Hargreaves – a veterinarian from Stanley House Vets in Colne – has admitted that he has seen an increase in the “cruel” trend, and believes this may be a result of people lying about where the procedure took place, adding: “I have been in general practice seeing first opinion cases in the community for 35 years [but] until a very few years ago, I had never seen a dog with cropped ears, with the exception of photographs or foreign films.


“Maybe three or four years ago, I began to see the odd dog with cropped ears that originated overseas [and] in a very short period of time, my practice began to see young animals with cropped ears.

“Their owners usually said they had acquired the dogs abroad, but we suspect they had done so purely to circumvent the law that prevents ear cropping at home.”

Mr Hargreaves says it’s “critical” that this activity is brought to the attention of the relevant authorities.

“Those involved here must be prosecuted and importation must be scrutinised and discouraged, [and] anyone claiming to be an animal lover should be exposed and shunned If they are propagating this cruel, unnecessary mutilation in the name of vanity,” he added.

77% of small animal vets in the North West have been presented with dogs with cropped ears in the last year / Credit: RSPCA

This sentiment is also echoed by James Russell – President of the British Veterinary Assossiation (BVA) – who added: “We are deeply concerned that vets have been seeing more dogs with cropped ears in their practices [as] ear cropping is illegal in the UK, so we have to question how it’s possible that so many vets have seen cropped dogs in the past year.


“These shocking figures clearly show that urgent action is needed to curb this disturbing rise.

“We were delighted by the commitment made by Government last month to prohibit imports of dogs with cropped ears as well as rooting out illegal practice of this completely unnecessary and intensely painful mutilation in the UK.

“We are now urging them to bring these measures into play at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Featured Image – iStockphoto