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American clinic will no longer dock

A LARGE veterinary clinic chain in America has confirmed it will no longer perform tail docking or ear cropping on dogs, despite the practice being common on many breeds there, including Doberman Pinschers, Boxers and various spaniels and terriers.

Banfield, The Pet Hospital has a national chain of clinics associated with PetsMart across the USA and is the nation's largest general veterinary practice, with more than 730 hospitals and 2,000 veterinarians nationwide.

Last year, the American Veterinary Medical Association passed a resolution opposing ear cropping and tail docking of dogs, ‘when done solely for cosmetic purposes,’ and encouraging the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards. Banfield came out strongly against the procedures at the time.

On its website Banfield has published the following explanation: ‘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. It is our hope that this new medical protocol will help reduce, and eventually eliminate, these cosmetic procedures altogether."

The hospitals will continue to carry out the surgeries on pets for which it is medically necessary. There have been numerous attempts in several states, most recently Illinois, New York and Vermont, to outlaw the practice of tail docking and ear cropping. The American Kennel Club has fought such laws.

In statements opposing them, 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.’

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