June seems set to become a memorable month for animal welfare across the UK. Not only will harsher sentences for acts of animal cruelty come into effect on 29 June – news has come that the Parliament will discuss the #FlopNotCrop campaign’s petition to ban the import of dogs with cropped ears in the UK earlier the same month.
Jordan Shelley, Director at The Foal Group (Focus On Animal Law), started the #FlopNotCrop campaign after seeing a dog with cropped ears used to advertised a British brand of dog food. Ear cropping is illegal in the UK under section 5 of the Animal Welfare Act (2006), but the import of banned dogs remains legal – and, animal welfare charities argue, it serves as a smokescreen for those illegally cropping dogs’ ears in the UK.
“The current position in the UK is that, whilst it is illegal to conduct this mutilation, it is not illegal to import a dog with cropped ears. This has resulted in several issues,” a Foal Group statement reads.
“The first being that owners and breeders can send their puppies abroad to be cropped and then returned to the UK, only to claim that the dog is a legal import. This not only quite frequently involves transporting a puppy that is too young for travel, but it also means that if the cropping is done in a country where cropping is also illegal the enforcement agencies in that country are not able to bring any prosecutions as the evidence, i.e. the cropped puppy has left their jurisdiction.
“It is worth noting that ear-cropping is illegal in most member States of Europe.
“The second issue is that the ability to import cropped dogs has also been relied upon by pro-croppers to hide a very dark back street practice, where breeders or owners are undertaking illegal DIY cropping. Quite frequently with no medical knowledge or training, rudimentary equipment, no anaesthetic and no post-operative pain relief for the dogs.”
Foal addressed the issue of rescue dogs, as the dogs with purposely cropped ears may be bought and imported under the guise of rescuing them.
”It is imperative that genuine rescue dogs are protected and not demonised due to the abuse they have suffered,” the statement reads. “But again, pro-croppers use this loophole to justify their dogs when challenged. Their argument fails however once you consider the breed and standard of their dogs.
“False rescues tend to be pedigree standard dogs. It takes a very short amount of basic research to discover that there simply are no genuine rescue centres full of pedigree standard cropped dogs.”
The petition will be debated on 7 June 2021, and Foal are calling for the public to contact their MP to make them aware of debate, and ask for their support.