News Campaign To Stop Trendy Ear Cropping



Campaign to stop trendy ear cropping
18th February 2021

By Karen Pickwick

Reports about the illegal practice of dog ear cropping have surged over the past year – prompting actor and comedian Ricky Gervais to back a campaign to crackdown on the problem.

New figures released by the RSPCA also show a 621% increase in the number of reports of ear cropping and cropped ears made to the animal welfare charity over the last six years. From 2015 to 2020, the charity had a total of 279 reports to its emergency hotline.

Ear cropping is illegal in England and Wales, under Section 5 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. However, the practice is still legal in other parts of the world, such as the US and some European countries, and there is a fear that more and more dogs are being sent abroad for cropping, or being bought and imported from overseas.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Ear cropping is a barbaric practice that is illegal in England and Wales. But, worryingly, we are seeing an upturn in the number of reports being made to our cruelty line about dogs with cropped ears and we’re extremely concerned that this trend is becoming increasingly normalised, glamorised and popular.

“We fear that images being shared on social media and used within advertising as well as high-profile sports stars and celebrities buying dogs with cropped ears is making the look more popular and may be influencing others to do the same.”


The charity is working with dog trainer Jordan Shelley, who launched a petition calling on the Government to ban the importation of dogs with cropped ears. He was hoping to hit 100,000 signatures before it closed on Saturday night (February 6).

Ricky Gervais has backed the petition and urged the British public to sign. He said: “It is horrific to think that something as barbaric as ear cropping still goes on. It causes these poor dogs so much suffering and it’s completely unnecessary. To think anyone would do this to an animal just for the sake of image is disgusting.

The Government has said that ear cropping is ‘abhorrent’ and has pledged to explore options to tackle the import of dogs that have been mutilated in such a way.

Ear cropping has no benefits for the dog and tends to be carried out purely for cosmetic reasons, the charity says. The process can, in fact, have serious, long-term welfare implications for a dog’s health and behaviour.

RSPCA behaviour and welfare specialist Hannah Hawkins said: “Dogs rely on their ears and tails for lots of things, including communicating with people and other dogs, so losing this can make it difficult for them to indicate how they are feeling which can lead to behavioural problems.”