Thursday, November 26, 2009

Banning of cropping and docking heats up

From Lee Steeves, CKC Director Zone 1

As you all know, there has been on-going discussion among provincial Veterinary Associations surrounding the procedures of cropping ears and docking tails. In New Brunswick, a ban on these procedures was effected by the NBVMA and has come into effect this year. In Newfoundland, cropping ears has been legislated out of existence ten years ago. PEI and Nova Scotia as well as Saskatchewan have considered provincial bans and I was advised at a meeting with CVMA on Sunday that PEI did put into effect a ban on cropping and docking at their November meeting.

In October, I was alerted that the discussion of cropping and docking would be on the annual meeting agenda of the NSVMA. Immediately, I contacted the President to request the opportunity to speak to the assembly and to present the CKC position. That request was refused by the NSVMA executive stating that this is a closed meeting and that presentations are not accepted. I did write a letter to the NSVMA and requested that it be read at the AGM, outlining the CKC position, the work we are doing with breed clubs and the progress being made by CKC on many initiatives aimed at making Canada one of the most progressive countries in the world in which to own a dog. Again, unfortunately this letter was not read. As in New Brunswick, there were spirited discussions at the AGM. No decision was taken immediately and the Executive Council determined that further dialogue needed to take place with more of the membership - most of whom were not in attendance (the AGM is held on a Saturday afternoon in Halifax so attendance is not a possibility for many veterinarians in the province). After the meeting, understanding that the CKC position had not been put forward, I sent a letter to every Veterinarian in the province of Nova Scotia outlining the points made in the letter sent to NSVMA and asking for their consideration of our position in responding to the Executive Council's request for their input. I have also met with as many practices as possible to personally put forward our position and to hear the views of the vets.

On Sunday, I flew to Ottawa and with the CEO of the CKC presented the CKC
position to the CVMA. In attendance were the CVMA representatives from NS, PEI, NB, Quebec, Ontario and the President from Saskatchewan as well as CVMA staff members. To say we were met with less than a welcoming audience is to understate the day. It was a challenging couple of hours, with no movement on the part of the vets who advised that anything we do short of a full rewrite of our standards to immediately take away cropping and docking is
too little too late. There was some softening of that position from Ontario, a comment that this is not yet on the radar in Quebec as yet and input that Nova Scotia is considering legislating these procedures out of existence.

We all have work to do. These vets are not only speaking of cropping and docking. Several, led by New Brunswick, are openly critical of the CKC's breed standards, feel that breeders are poorly educated with respect to health, genetics and breeding practices to support an animal's welfare and are censorious of breeders - in particular those breeders who breed conformation dogs for show. They are criticizing our standards for individual breeds and are of the opinion that we are not supporting the puppy purchasers with healthy dogs.

I would urge each one of you to have a conversation with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Ask his/her views on purebred dogs and dog breeding, on your own breeding practices from his/her perspective and develop an understanding of where your veterinarian is positioned with respect to your hobby of dog breeding. It is important to all of us that we understand where our vets are positioned with respect to our breeding of dogs, of our particular breeds and our future in dogs.

Many of you know me personally and know that I am not an alarmist nor am I a
believer in escalating an issue. At this time, I am deeply concerned for our relationship with the veterinary community. There are changes that we will need to make and we at the Board table are aware of that. Nothing stays constant in any part of our lives. We will over the next year be offering opportunities for breeder education and accreditation through a program that we have been working on at the Board table for a decade. We will be offering a medical registry and have already provided to you an outreach program that you and your kennel club are able to present in your community. We will support responsible dog ownership week and will continue to work at forming partnerships with those organizations with similar views, values and positions. But it is now important that you as a breeder, owner or pet enthusiast move forward as well, taking advantage of these tools we are providing and developing a better sense of those that we are working with - the dog owning public, puppy purchasers and our vets.

I look forward to hearing from many of you letting me know how these conversations go, which vets are supportive of you as a breeder and where you think we might go form here.

Lee Steeves
CKC Director Zone 1


  1. Hi Lee,

    Can you elaborate on what exactly the CKC position is on cropping and docking please?

    regards, Nancy in Ontario

  2. The CKC position is as follows:-
    The Canadian Kennel Club has historically operated on the principle that the breeders and the breed clubs determine the standards for the breeds and therefore will not unilaterally legislate changes to these breed standards.

    The Canadian Kennel Club is concerned that ear cropping and tail docking be done under the
    most humane circumstances and to this end, has adopted the policy of barring for life from all
    Canadian Kennel Club events, any person or persons who performs or causes to be performed,
    the ear-cropping of any dog without the use of a general anesthetic.

    The Canadian Kennel Club does not believe that any ban on cropped and/or docked dogs in the
    events of Canadian Kennel Club will stop the cropping and docking of dogs in Canada because
    these services will still be readily available in the United States and there will remain those who wish this cosmetic surgery for their dogs whether purebred or not, whether participating in the event of the CKC or not.

    The Canadian Kennel Club considers tail docking and dew claw removal, practices which are distinct from ear cropping. Tail docking and removal of dew claws is necessary for safety in field working breeds and for hygienic reasons in other breeds. Moreover, tail docking and removal of dew claws, when performed on young puppies, is consistent with similar practices in the livestock industry.

  3. I think that tail docking is an unnecessary procedure and should stop. I am a member of the CKC. I have read what was written by the K9 Alliance and would have to disagree with the comment saying that hip rating and full tails would have anything to do with each other. In a lot of smaller foreign countries, there are vets that will pass dogs with bad hips by using other X-Rays. This is the cause to the problem with hips in Europe,. Dont point your fingers at natural tails!

  4. Tail docking, dew claw removal, ear cropping.. they're all animal cruelty and abuse. Who are humans to mess with God's creations? What should we be cutting them? It's completely unnecessary and barbaric.

  5. I support Lee Steeves and the CKC with this endeavor. These procedures are not just 'cosmetic' which is a misleading term the vets have decided to use. These procedures are done also for health, hygenic and also for preventative measures, as well as historic. They all have value.

    I respect the personal choice of the vet whether or not they want to perform the procedure, but I also respect the right of the breeders to have it done, especially if it is done within the first few days of birth.

    For vets to justify declawing of cats, and yet feel that the other procedures are cruel does not even make any common sense. I can't imagine having tendons cut, nails taken out at the roots and expected to walk and stand on them right after surgery, and it has potential long term issues with pain and quality of life for the cat.

    I respect my vets but I don't feel we are being treated with respect by the vet community in return (in general), example they won't listen to breeders nor the CKC.

    I feel strongly that we should be united and not divided, we should be fighting against puppy mills, commercial breeders, supporting our local SPCA's, etc.

    I had more respect from doctors when I wanted to do circumcision on my boys, and I listened with an open mind, and they respected which ever choice I made..I chose not to have it done, based on their guidance. They advised then that it was considered cosmetic and not necessary and that fewer and fewer are being done. I based my decision on what they told me, we respected each other, no matter what I decided or the reason for my decision would be respected.

    I would like the same respect from the vet community. I believe we should support each other to be the best we can be... learning and willing to have an open mind, and respecting each other and their decisions and their 'right to choose'. Breeders and vets should perform Health screening and testing to breed responsibly, with the help and guidance of the vet community. It should be mutually respectful and right now it is anything but respectful by the vet community! and their claiming it is 'cosmetic' surgery is misleading and incorrect.

    Sometimes the responsible and loving thing to do, is TO HAVE these procedures done.. and to NOT do it, would negatively impact the quality of life of the animal. Infections, disease, broken tails that are painful and won't heal, ripped or ingrown dew claws, etc.

    Come on vets.. where is the respect? the breeders nor the CKC would treat you the way you are treating us... and actually the CKC gives $ to support upcoming veterinarians, breeders spend big $$ on health screening to be the best they can be.. you won't find puppy mills spending money on their dogs.. screening for health, guaranteeing their pups, offering lifetime support to take the pup/dog back if needed and to support the new owners in anyway they can... they are only interested in the $$. Responsible breeders LOVE their dogs, are passionate about them, and they are 'family pets' and not stuck in a crate and bred each season just because that is their only purpose in life.. how sad is that??!!

    Sorry, this has all hit a nerve... I think people need to find out all information before they jump to conclusions.. what they deem as being unnecessary and barbaric, may actually be anything but!

    Respectfully, submitted by a NB breeder.

  6. Thank you for the heartfelt comments. This is certainly an issue that is a hot button issue. I am personally not a fan of taking away choice. I think human nature resists being told what to do but informed choices are always best. I can't say I am a fan of unnecessary procedures that cause pain for an animal for cosmetic reasons but I do know that some will perform these procedures without vet care if the choice is taken away and in my mind that is worse. I think educating and making change acceptable is the way to go. I know a great Rottweiler breeder that has now chosen to leave tails natural. I personally like the look of them but I am a tail fan. I love Dobermans with natural ears. It softens the face and I like the look but that is my opinion. If someone can convince me that these are necessary procedures other than cosmetic then I think it is up to owners and breeders to make the choice for what is in the best interest of the animal. Eventually if the choice is made to leave the animal natural, it will look natural. It is all in what we are used to.

  7. Well its now May and another province has pushed the ban through NS. It is soon to reach Quebec and Ontario. I'm so upset!! People just don't seem to understand what is really going on here.
    I think that the CVMA is feeling the pressure from the BSL and PETA. I also think that they having financial problems just like any other business around the world.

    With this ban the animal activist will be some what happy. The financial problems will soon improve with all the new and more costly surgeries or injuries that will occur as a result of the Dock/Crop/Dew claw ban.

    I also think that the CVMA is not speaking on behalf of all their members they are forcing it on their members. THIS IS A BIG DIFFERENCE.

    I also think that the CVMA is USING THE PUBLIC, by misleading them and forming a basis opinion.

    Who really suffers in the end THE BREEDER AND THE BREED THEY CHOOSE TO BREED. People should realize the full effects should the ban go through.
    Since the ban in other countries there has been up to an 80% decrease in births of certain breed types. That's right this ban is causing the extinction of various breeds.
    DOES THIS NOT SOUND LIKE THE BSL AND PETA GETTING JUST WHAT THEY WANT> THESE ARE ThE SAME GROUPS THAT HAVE REMOVED THE PITT BULL from families and homes to be destroyed with no exceptions what so ever.
    Where did the BSL AND PETA GO? I don't think that they just gave up and went away. OH no I think they went to the vets and formed an agreement with the CVMA.
    IN hopes that if they can make the Breeds unacceptable to the people who want and employ them, they will eventually just disappear .
    This is just my opinion.
    I think the general public is being fooled into making this happen.
    When the time comes to purchase a Boxer, Terrier or a Poodle they will not be able to find one. Just like the Pit Bull, THEY WILL BE GONE FOREVER!!!!

    What can you do to help stop the ban.
    Support your local vet that does these procedures, by letters to your Veterinarian, Provincial or Territorial Veterinary Association, Member of Parliament or Provincial Legislature.
    I know its hard to sit and write a letter, but here I am writing one to you. I know that all will not agree with my opinion but that's the chance I have to take. IF we continue to remain silent our Beloved Canine Friends will be gone forever.

    I would love to post my full ideas on this subject but there is a word limit.