For years the subjects of ear cropping and tail docking have caused controversy and moral anguish among veterinarians. Many vets have lost sleep worrying about the ethics of the procedures, but that appears to be changing.
When I was studying to be a veterinarian, I made a conscious decision not to learn how to crop ears or dock tails. I thought it was a very original way to sidestep the controversy. I don’t know how to perform the procedures, so I can’t be placed in awkward positions by clients who want them.
My plan has worked, but it turns out that it wasn’t original at all. DVM Newsmagazine reports in its January, 2009 issue that it may eventually be impossible to find a vet who can crop ears or dock tails.
Many veterinary colleges no longer teach the procedures, which shows they are becoming less popular, according to [Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association consultant Barbara] Hodges.
“There is a resistance by the new generation of students,” she says. “They are speaking up and saying as they enter the profession that they don’t want to perform these procedures, that they don’t think the medical and health risks to the animal are necessary.”
I do not know any vets under the age of 60 who crop ears (tail docking is more common). In fact, I am aware of only one vet in the San Francisco Bay Area who performs the procedure.
As ear cropping and tail docking die out, so will the controversy.
Photo: This could soon be the breed standard for Boxers.