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Posted: 29th July 2022

Vets pen open letter to Warner Bros. over ear cropping concerns
Ear cropping is a painful procedure that involoves removing a dog's outer ears or surgically altering them so the tips are cut off.

The letter follows the UK release of DC League of Super-Pets.

Vets and animal welfare organisations have sent an open letter to Warner Bros. over the painful procedure of ear cropping, urging the filmmaker to pledge to avoid normalising this look in the future.

The letter signed by the BVA, the BVNA and The Kennel Club, amongst others, follows the UK release of Warner Bros animated film, DC League of Super-Pets, today (29 July), which features a dog with ears that look cropped.

Ear cropping is illegal in the UK, but the practice is still commonplace in other parts of the world. The painful process involves removing a dog's outer ears or surgically altering them to cut off the tips.

Vets and animal welfare organisations are concerned that more dogs are being sent abroad for the painful procedure - or are being imported from abroad having already undergone it - due to the rise in demand for cropped ears, fuelled by media depictions of a particular look. 

In the letter, the group states that there are some instances where ear cropping has been carried out without pain relief “by untrained individuals who have no regard for animal welfare”. They also call on filmmakers and celebrities to recognise their influence "when inadvertently promoting this look in films, adverts or on social media.”

The letter reads: “Normalising this look has to stop, and we’re dismayed that Warner Bros have included an animated dog to have ears that look cropped in a film that is aimed at impressionable young children. The film and its huge transatlantic publicity campaign, including Ace toys and merchandise already available for purchase in the UK, could further fuel the trend for dogs with cropped ears. 

“We want to underline that Ace would be ace with floppy ears and urge all filmmakers to pledge to avoid normalising this look in the future. We also call on the public to be aware of the animal welfare concerns around the painful procedure of ear cropping and to call out depictions whenever they come across them in the media.”

Vets and animal welfare organisations in the UK have long campaigned to close the legislative loophole that enables dogs to be sent abroad for cropping. The call to the government to support #CutTheCrop and #FlopNotCrop garnered more than 104,000 signatures, and ministers have pledged to ban the import of cropped dogs in upcoming legislation.

The BVA and other member associations have created guidelines to help ensure the responsible and appropriate use of animals in films and advertising, available at bva.co.uk

The list of signatories is as follows: The Kennel Club, The FOAL Group, and members of the Veterinary Animal Welfare Coalition: BVA; British Veterinary Zoological Association (BVZS); BVNA; and British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA); Scottish SPCA; RSPCA; PDSA; and Blue Cross.

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