New Regulation Bans Ear and Tail Docking in Quebec

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Ear cropping and tail docking are controversial cosmetic procedures done on specific dog breeds – in order to achieve a special look, dogs are having their ears and tails essentially mutilated to fit a certain beauty standard. Well, thanks to efforts by veterinarians, legislators, and activists, in 18 months, such procedures will be completely outlawed in Quebec, Canada. The regulation has been in the works for years, with examples such as the veterinarian board banning its members if they should perform docking or cropping, but it hasn’t been officially prohibited. Now, however, the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food has made it formal and has given breeders and owners a year and a half to comply with the new rules which outlaw cosmetic procedures on dogs.

For many years, veterinarians have been warning about the side effects of these “cosmetic” procedures – which involve cutting off the tail or parts of ears to get the desired appearance – such as infections, chronic pain, and other debilitating conditions – all for the sake of aesthetics. And yet, even still, some people fail to see the cruelty and needlessness of these procedures, which is why there’s an outcry about the new regulation already. Some are warning that, in an effort to get the desired look, future owners will turn to the black market to get the procedures done, and others are disgruntled that their dogs won’t be able to participate in international competitions and shows where the breed’s standard requires cropped ears or docked tail. 

This highlights an important issue – no matter if it’s banned or not, ear and tail modifications won’t stop as long as they are prescribed as some kind of a “beauty standard” for specific breeds and are actually prerequisites for participation in contests. To see a real change, we need the breed clubs to revise their traditions and forgo the idea that cosmetic procedures are a must for any breed – until that happens, we won’t really see the complete banning of ear cropping and tail docking.

Even so, it’s nice to see that more and more people and institutions are seeing how cruel these cosmetic procedures are and that not only they don’t contribute anything health-wise or functionality-wise to dogs, but can rather cause lifelong pain or life-threatening infections, simply because of something as shallow as looks. One can only hope that step by step, will soon see first a nationwide, and then a worldwide ban of unnecessary body modifications done on animals – and that dogs won’t have to suffer just to be able to compete at dog shows or meet someone’s dated idea of breed beauty standards.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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