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Banfield ceases docking, cropping, debarking

DSC03408Banfield, the largest network of animal hospitals in the nation, has announced it will no longer do tail docking, ear cropping or devocalization on dogs — unless medically necessary.

The announcement drew praise from the Humane Society of the United States, and other animal welfare groups.

Headquartered in Portland, Ore., Banfield is the nation’s largest general veterinary practice, with more than 730 hospitals and 2,000 veterinarians nationwide.

Tail docking and ear cropping have become increasingly controversial over the past few years, and last year the American Veterinary Medical Association passed a resolution opposing the procedures when done solely for  cosmetic purposes.

Banfield came out strongly against the procedures, according to USA Today.

“After thoughtful consideration and reviewing medical research, we have determined it is in the best interest of the pets we treat, as well as the overall practice, to discontinue performing these unnecessary cosmetic procedures,” said Karen Faunt, vice president for medical quality advancement. “It is our hope that this new medical protocol will help reduce, and eventually eliminate, these cosmetic procedures altogether.”

There have been numerous attempts in several states — opposed by the American Kennel Club — to outlaw the practices.

The AKC says that “as prescribed in certain breed standards, (they) are acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed character, enhancing good health and preventing injuries,” and that “any inference that these procedures are cosmetic and unnecessary is a severe mischaracterization that connotes a lack of respect and knowledge of history and the function of purebred dogs.”

Tail docking involves cutting off the majority of a dog’s tail, generally within days of birth. It’s mostly done on terriers and hunting dogs. Ear cropping involves cutting a notch out of a floppy ear and bandaging it so that it heals in a more upright, “alert” position. It’s done on more than 50 breeds, including boxers, great Danes, schnauzers, Doberman pinchers and terriers.

You can read the full Banfield press release here.

Comments

Comment from Beau
Time August 3, 2009 at 1:20 pm

This is fantastic news.

Comment from Eighteenpaws
Time August 3, 2009 at 6:09 pm

I have NEVER understood a dog owner’s desire to crop the appendages of their pets! (Same quandry about folks who “de-claw” their kitties — but that’s another blogsite!) Even as a very young girl, I always looked at these dogs and wondered what in the world caused their supposedly loving caretakers to mutilate their pets?? THANKS for this uplifting news. Hope that it’s a growing trend among vets (and the AKC members) everywhere. I will write to Banfield to congratulate.

Comment from feefifoto
Time August 3, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Lately I see more and more dogs of the breeds you mentioned with uncropped ears. I think it’s great, and the purpose for it (if any) is long gone.

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