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Ear Cropping Was Just Banned In British Columbia. Who's Next?

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If you're looking to shear your dog's ears into shadows of their former, floppy selves, you're out of luck in British Columbia.

And, hopefully soon, everywhere else.

Citing ethical concerns, veterinarians in the Canadian province voted to ban the practice this week - despite its popularity among dog breeders and the competition crowd.

"Ear cropping is an unnecessary procedure unless carried out in cases of injury or for reasons of health concerns," said Larry Ode of the B.C. College of Veterinarians in a statement.

Or, as animal advocate Tracey Stewart publicly pleads, just don't.

Not even if you think it has some sort of medical value.

"There has been no proven science to support the argument that these procedures prevent injury and infection," Stewart writes. "The decision to remove these vital appendages comes down to a fashion choice."

British Columbia veterinarians largely seem to agree.

"For nearly two decades, the B.C. SPCA has been on record opposing procedures such as tail docking, ear cropping, devocalization and declawing that impact an animal's ability to experience good welfare and to express natural behaviours," Craig Daniell of the B.C. SPCA told CBC News.

"This decision ... is a significant step forward in the humane treatment of animals in our province and we are extremely pleased to support and endorse this change," Daniell says.

Traditionally, breeds that have their ears cropped include the Boston terrier, boxer, Doberman and schnauzer.

You've probably seen a puppy with some makeshift bandaging on his head, from having his ears cut with scissors. The procedure usually takes place when a puppy is between 6 and 12 weeks old.

But the tide may be turning toward a more natural look. The practice is already banned in several Canadian provinces, with New Brunswick veterinarians declaring, "It is unprofessional conduct for a veterinarian ... to perform cosmetic surgery on any animal."

And the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has long urged breeders to turn their backs on the practice.

As for the U.S., just nine states regulate ear cropping, including New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania. But even in these states, the practice, sadly, remains legal.

Read more about ear cropping on The Dodo.