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Vets and animal welfare organisations flag ear cropping concerns in open letter to Warner Bros.

29 Jul 2022

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We have issued a joint open letter to Warner Bros. following the release of their animated children’s film, DC League of Super-Pets, which features a dog with ears that look cropped.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA), alongside members of the Veterinary Animal Welfare Coalition, the FOAL Group and The Kennel Club, has written to Warner Bros. to express disappointment for including Ace the Bat-Hound, an animated dog with ears that look cropped, in a film that is aimed at impressionable young children. There are concerns that the film and its huge transatlantic publicity campaign, including Ace toys and merchandise that are already available for purchase in the UK, could further fuel the trend for dogs with cropped ears.

BVA has long raised concerns about this illegal trend as part of the #CutTheCrop campaign.

Responding to the film, BVA President Justine Shotton said:

“We’re really disappointed to see Warner Bros. using a dog with cropped ears in DC League of Super-Pets. While we understand that this look has been created to emulate Batman’s iconic cowl, in reality, this extreme ear shape is only achieved through a painful process where the floppy part of a puppy’s ear is cut off, often without anaesthesia or pain relief, then each stump is attached to a hard surface in a process known as splinting, to shape them upright whilst they are healing.

“Recently, vets and animal welfare charities in the UK have seen a dramatic increase in the number of dogs with cropped ears, marking an extremely worrying trend towards the normalisation of this illegal mutilation, despite it being illegal in the UK. Unscrupulous breeders are tapping into this trend and using legal loopholes to import dogs with cropped ears from countries outside the UK where the procedure is still legal, or sending dogs bred in the UK overseas for the procedure. These loopholes also act as a smokescreen for illegal cropping taking place within the UK.

“We’d love parents to take the opportunity to talk about this serious welfare issue with their kids when going to see the film, and for filmmakers and advertisers to use the BVA guidelines for pets in advertising to help promote healthy, happy animals and avoid unintentionally showing animals who have suffered for a trend.”

Read the joint open letter here.

 

Veterinary Animal Welfare Coalition

The Veterinary Animal Welfare Coalition was established to increase public awareness of the five welfare needs of animals, as laid out in the UK Animal Welfare Acts. It includes representatives from veterinary organisations and charities that deliver veterinary services: BVA, the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), the British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS), RSPCA, SSPCA, PDSA, and Blue Cross.      

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