RSPCA joins EFRA call for crackdown on ear cropping and fertility clinics


The RSPCA has welcomed calls from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee for an urgent crackdown on dog fertility clinics and poor breeding practices in the UK, as well as “better regulation and licensing in the sector”.

In the April 2021 edition of Dogs Today, we wrote about the dramatic increase of unregulated fertility clinics and cautioned our readers against what we dubbed the “DIY brigade” – fertility clinics that routinely break the law by performing procedures, such as drawing blood for progesterone testing, without the supervision of a vet, or teach amateurs to do it. They had ways to circumvent the law, like asking owners to transfer the dog into the tester’s ownership while the test was performed.

Many of those clinics deal specifically with brachycephalic breeds – such as bulldogs and French bulldogs – whose breeding is a problematic matter as is, given the deep concern for their welfare caused by their flat faces and other health issues.

flat-faced pup

As well as calling for a crackdown on fertility clinics and the closing of a loophole which allows the import of dogs with cropped ears in the UK, the committee also called for a list of licensed dog breeders to be made public, for a public campaign to raise awareness of the plight of dogs and cats bed with extreme and exaggerated features, for measures to control the entry of dogs from countries with endemic diseases, and for changes to the licensing regulations for dog breeders. The reports also calls to regulate the breeding of cats as well as dogs.

David Bowles, Head of Public Affairs at the RSPCA, said, “We are a country of animal lovers and we all want our pets to have the best start in life, and that begins with the way they are bred.

“In its response to this report, the UK Government has an opportunity to make a real difference to animals, prevent suffering, and make it easier for the public to buy animals who have had happy and healthy starts to life.”

petition against cropped ears cropped dog
Staffordshire bull terrier Rocky’s owner was prosecuted for removing his ears with knife.

“Better licensing of breeding, tighter regulations around fertility clinics and tougher enforcement around the importation of cats and dogs cannot come soon enough if we’re going to effectively crackdown on the exploitation of animals for commercial gain.”

He added, “Sadly, we’ve seen an increasing trend over recent decades of animals being abused and exploited in the name of appearance and money. There are so many worrying trends impacting animal welfare in this country right now.

“From animals undergoing painful procedures abroad, such as ear cropping or declawing, to be sold on in the UK; extreme breeding to achieve certain appearances which can have catastrophic effects on quality of life; or unqualified people in fertility clinics carrying out unlawful procedures with potentially fatal implications – we clearly need urgent action from the UK Government.”


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