The RSPCA has warned about a surge in the illegal practice of dog ear cropping over the past year.
The latest figures released this week by the charity has shown a 621% increase in the number of reports of ear cropping in the last six years. From 2015 to 2020, RSPCA received a total of 279 reports of the practice made 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 USA and some European countries. The charity expressed its concern that more dogs are being sent abroad for cropping, or being purchased and imported from overseas.
Dr Samantha Gaines, dog welfare expert, said: “Ear cropping is a barbaric practice that is illegal in England & Wales. But, worryingly, we’re 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 maybe influencing others to do the same.”
The charity has been working with dog trainer Jordan Shelley, whose petition to ban the importation of dogs with cropped ears has gathered more than 45,000 signatures.
Ricky Gervais, animal welfare enthusiast and comedian who has also backed the campaign, said: “It’s 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.”