08 February 2016

Quebec Bans Tail Docking and Ear Cropping

Quebec's Order of Veterinarians has moved to prohibit certain cosmetic surgeries as of January 2017.

Veterinarians will no longer be able to dock or cut the tails of dogs, cattle or horses for cosmetic reasons. The order also bans ear cropping for cats and dogs because it goes against the principles of ensuring an animal's well-being.

Originally most tail docking and ear cropping was done for practical purposes - often to protect a working animal from injury. Today, most dogs are pets and don't have the same threat of injury and the procedure is often done to meet breed standards, so the surgery is considered cosmetic.

Ear cropping involves cutting off up to two-thirds of the ear flap when the dog is 4-6 months old. It has been banned in many European countries, Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia.

Tail docking is performed when the puppy is only a few days old. In the process, muscles, tendons, nerves, bone, and cartilage is severed. It has been banned in many countries in Europe as well as Australia. Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom voted to ban tail docking in March 2006, except for working dogs or for medical reasons.

With this move by Quebec to ban cosmetic ear cropping and tail docking, Alberta and Ontario are the only provinces in Canada without legislation outlawing these surgeries.

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