Humans can opt against cosmetic surgery, but dogs aren't so
lucky. We choose for them—and we often choose painful, unnecessary procedures
such as ear-cropping and tail-docking. To give certain breeds so-called
"desirable" traits, unscrupulous veterinarians perform cruel,
disfiguring surgeries that cause dogs great suffering.
Dogs usually have their ears cropped when they are just 8 to
12 weeks old. At this stage in their development, the trauma of the procedure
can have a strong psychological impact on the maturing pup. The process of
taping and re-taping a pup's ears to force them to stand erect after they have
been cropped can be agonizing for the dog
Puppies are normally just a few days old when their tails
are docked. They are generally not even given any anesthetics to numb the pain
of having their tails cut off. Compassionate veterinarians object to the
arbitrary removal of body parts used for communication, balance, and
Dogs "talk" to their human companions and other
dogs using their ears and tails.
It is ridiculous to perform medically unnecessary procedures
that simply perpetuate the image that dogs are fashion accessories. This image
is promoted by the American Kennel Club at its canine beauty pageants and by
breeders who believe that "their" breed will be "ruined" if
it does not maintain the image handed down by parent breed clubs decades ago.
These procedures are so cruel that they are banned in many
European countries. For example, British kennel clubs outlawed ear-cropping a
century ago, and cosmetic tail-docking was stopped in Great Britain in 1993.
Sadly, some veterinarians still see nothing wrong with
mutilating a dog whose guardian is willing to pay for it. The American
Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states that "ear-cropping and
tail-docking are not medically indicated nor of benefit to the patient. These
procedures cause pain and distress and, as with all surgical procedures, are
accompanied by inherent risks of anesthesia, blood loss, and infection.
Therefore, veterinarians should counsel dog owners about these matters before
agreeing to perform these surgeries."
In response to the tail-docking (amputation) requirements
for certain breeds in the Westminster Kennel Club's (WKC) internationally
promoted annual dog show, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
has filed a complaint with New York officials against the club, alleging
criminal violations of the state's anti-cruelty law, which prohibits
unjustified mutilations of animals.
Are Your Neighbors Barking Mad?
Don't wait for a visit from animal control, a court summons,
or—worst of all—for frustrated neighbors to strike before you solve your dog's
barking problem. PETA's caseworkers are flooded with calls from people who have
been ordered to subject their dog to a cruel surgery of convenience, called
"debarking," as a means to try to remedy their excessive barking. But
barking is a dog's means of communicating many feelings—fear, frustration,
pain, boredom, or even happiness. This cruel procedure strips dogs of their
natural ability to vocalize and communicate. Depriving them of their primary
means of expression is unjustifiably cruel.
Debarking, or devocalization, is an invasive surgical procedure that involves
removing a large amount of laryngeal tissue. It involves a great deal of pain
post-operatively. Because this procedure is superfluous and inherently cruel,
many veterinarians condemn and refuse to perform it.
You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks!
If your dog has a barking problem, don't accept debarking as
a solution. Instead, deal with the problem for what it is: a symptom of boredom
and loneliness! There are lots of simple and effective solutions:
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.