PETA India has urged veterinary regulatory bodies to implement and enforce the ban on cosmetic tail-docking and ear-cropping of dogs, saying performing these traumatising procedures was “illegal”.
The animal rights organisation last week in a letter to the Veterinary Council of India (VCI) and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) urged the bodies to enforce the ban under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2017.
PETA had also sent letters to the central and state animal-husbandry departments, veterinary colleges and universities, and veterinarians’ associations in this regard.
Tail-docking and ear-cropping are cruel cosmetic veterinary procedures that are commonly practiced to give certain breeds so-called “desirable” traits, PETA said.
Some veterinarians, breeders, and others perform cruel, disfiguring surgeries that can cause dogs great suffering, it said.
Ears of animals are usually “cropped” when they are just eight to 12 weeks old. The process of taping and re-taping puppies’ ears is often agonising to the animals, the organisation said.
“Performing traumatising, acutely painful procedures on puppies just to satisfy the arbitrary whims of humans regarding how they should look goes against veterinary ethics and, importantly, is also illegal.
“PETA India is calling on veterinarians across India to refuse to take blades, knives, or scissors to dogs’ ears and tails for cosmetic purposes and is urging authorities to prosecute breeders found performing these mutilations themselves,” the animal rights body’s India CEO Manilal Valliyate said.
The cruel procedures were originally banned by the VCI in 2011 following an advisory issued by the AWBI.
The board had explained that non-therapeutic tail-docking and ear-cropping mutilations amount to cruelty to animals under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and that performing such procedures are, therefore, punishable offences.
“Maiming dogs also violates Sections 429 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Nevertheless, the Madras High Court overturned the ban in 2013. The AWBI filed an appeal against the order that is still pending, and PETA India has filed an intervention application in the matter.
“Although this 2017 Rule has been challenged before the high court of Delhi, the Rajasthan High Court and the Madras High Court, no interim stay has been granted to the petitioners, and the provisions of the Rules remain in force,” PETA said.
The organisation pointed out that ear-cropping, or cutting off a portion of a dog’s ears, even when performed by a veterinarian under general anaesthesia, causes post-surgery pain and psychological trauma and can lead to complications like infection in wounds.
The cut-apart ears are then taped and re-taped in an attempt to make them look pointy, causing further distress to dogs, PETA said.
Some breeders take matters into their own hands and use scissors or a blade to slice the dogs’ ears without anaesthesia or painkillers, the animal rights body claimed.
Even when done by veterinarians, tail-docking is usually performed on puppies with scissors or a scalpel, it said.
This is usually done without anaesthesia and as an alternative, breeders often use a ring to cut off the blood supply of the tail so that it eventually falls off, PETA said.
“Those who perform the procedures disregard how essential these body parts are to dogs—they use their tails, to a degree, for balance and use their ears and tails to communicate with their human guardians and other dogs,” it said.
Ear-cropping is banned in Australia, New Zealand, many countries in Europe, and most Canadian provinces, and tail-docking is prohibited in Australia, Iceland, Israel, South Africa, and elsewhere. PTI