The American Veterinary Medical Assn.’s executive board issued a revised policy on Nov. 26 clarifying its stance on ear cropping and tail docking.
The revised policy states: “The AVMA opposes ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done solely for cosmetic purposes. The AVMA encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards.”
“For many years the AVMA has acknowledged that ear cropping and tail docking of dogs for cosmetic purposes are not medically indicated nor of benefit to our canine patients,” said Ron DeHaven, DVM, chief executive officer of the AVMA. “Our latest policy revision doesn’t represent a change in perspective, but, rather, makes that perspective clear with a stronger statement.”
The decision to strengthen the association’s policy was spurred after a scheduled review of the existing policy.
“Why we perform certain procedures is one of the first questions we ask,” said Gail Golab, DVM, director of the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Division. “ ‘Cosmetic’ implies the basis for these procedures is to alter the dog’s appearance. Welfare risks identified included … anesthetic complications, pain, blood loss and infection. In the committee’s opinion, the risk-benefit analysis supports professional opposition to performing these procedures for purely cosmetic reasons.”
The AVMA said it would support procedures that protect the health and welfare of the dog.