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Plan to ban the import of ear cropped dogs

Issue: 22/03/2024

It has been reported that the government is looking into banning the import of ear cropped dogs.
A provision to ban the import of ear cropped dogs was part of the Kept Animals Bill which was dropped by the government.
In 2021 a consultation on banning the import of dogs with cropped ears was launched and it is now reviewing the responses.
It is illegal to crop a dog’s ears in the UK but it is not against the law to import an ear cropped dog. This loophole has led to unscrupulous gangs to crop dogs’ ears, sell them and they tell owners to pretend the animal has come from abroad.
The dogs come from countries where ear cropping is also illegal such as Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland. Breeds such as American Bulldogs, Dobermanns, Italian Mastiffs (Cane Corso), Bulldogs and Mastiffs tend to have their ears cropped.
Ear-cropped dogs tend to be seen as ‘status dogs’ and they have become more popular due to them being shared on social media by premiership footballers and reality TV shows.
Samantha Gaines from the RSPCA told the Daily Express, ‘We do have concerns that ear cropping is being carried out illegally, and underground, in this country. But we suspect that the majority of dogs with cropped ears are being sent abroad to have the procedure done or are being bought and imported deliberately from countries with less stringent animal welfare laws and regulations than here.’
The Dogs Trust said, ‘In order to stop dogs being illegally imported into the UK, we urgently need legislation that will increase the age at which puppies can be imported to six months, ban the non-commercial transport of pregnant dogs in their last trimester, ban the commercial import of pregnant dogs, and introduce a ban on the importation and sale of dogs with cropped ears and docked tails for cosmetic reasons.’
Environment minister Mark Spencer said, ‘The practice of non-exempted mutilations, such as cropping dogs’ ears, is abhorrent and has rightly been banned in the UK for 10 years. We are reviewing the feedback from our consultation and a summary will be published in due course.’

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