Banfield Vets Take A Giant Step Forward

by Mary Haight on July 31, 2009

Dog Tails
Image by  Claire_Sambrook via Flickr

Banfield, the largest network of animal hospitals in the US(730 hospitals 2,000 veterinarians), has come out against tail docking, ear cropping and devocalization on dogs. None of these procedures will be sanctioned at their hospitals, except for medically necessary tail surgery.

“After thoughtful consideration and reviewing medical research, we have determined it is in the best interest of the pets we treat, as well as the overall practice, to discontinue performing these unnecessary cosmetic procedures,” says Karen Faunt, vice president for medical quality advancement. “It is our hope that this new medical protocol will help reduce, and eventually eliminate, these cosmetic procedures altogether.”

The AKC has vigorously fought any attempt at State level regulation, where bills banning this procedure have been routinely gutted and shelved.

According to the Elizabeth Weise piece in USA Today, the AKC says “as prescribed in certain breed standards, [they] are acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed character, enhancing good health and preventing injuries,” and that “any inference that these procedures are cosmetic and unnecessary is a severe mischaracterization that connotes a lack of respect and knowledge of history and the function of purebred dogs.”

In an April article here on worldwide docking and cropping practices , I noted the AVMA has been trying to get the AKC to alter their breed standards since the mid 1970s, to drop ear cropping and tail docking. They tried to get them to listen to the medical facts every ten years thereafter “The AVMA opposes ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done solely for cosmetic purposes. The AVMA encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards.” They condemn these practices as cruelty not medically beneficial to the patient and tell veterinarians to advise their clients against such procedures. The American Animal Hospital Association is against these procedures, as are the national kennel clubs of 84 nations that are members of the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI). which also bans these practices. The AKC is not a member.

Banfield has taken a giant step forward; let’s hope others do the same.

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  1. […] talked about much:  Factory breeders perform their own surgeries.  Caesarian section, debarking, tail docking, are all done without training or expertise. I’ll leave you to imagine the […]

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