'It's a matter of choice': Breeders defend surgeries Alberta vets resolved to ban

Breeders are pushing back against a resolution from the Alberta Medical Veterinary Association to ban unnecessary surgeries on pets, including ear cropping, tail docking, declawing and cosmetic dentistry.

Canadian Kennel Club breed standards call for tail docking and ear clipping

The Canadian Kennel Club breeds standards outline that certain terrier breeds should have docked tails. (The Associated Press)

Breeders are pushing back against a resolution from the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association to ban unnecessary surgeries on pets, including ear cropping, tail docking, declawing and cosmetic dentistry.

The Canadian Kennel Club, which outlines breed standards, includes sections that require some dogs to have docked tails.

Lana Campbell, president of All Terriers Club of Alberta, raises soft-coated wheaten terriers. She said despite the ABVMA stance breeders should continue to have the option to seek certain procedures.

"It's matter of choice for breeders, and the bans on these types of surgeries are a ban on breeder choices and on animal ownership," Campbell told CBC's Radio Active on Tuesday.

The Alberta vet association has resolved to ban tail docking and ear clipping for pets. But those are surgeries kennel clubs require for certain breeds. We talk to a club president about how breeders are reacting to the ban. 6:44

Campbell said her own dogs had their tails docked as puppies, which is in line with CKC suggested breed standards. 

CKC has amended its standards to include guidelines for docked or undocked tails, but still has docked tails listed as a recommended option for several breeds. 

"It's a procedure that is less invasive than a spay or neuter, which almost any dog owner has done on their pet dog," Campbell said.

Dr. Darrell Dalton, ABMVA registrar secretary treasurer, said cropping and docking are unnecessary procedures and the association's council will likely create a policy later this year to bar members from performing such surgeries.

"It's a look thing," Dalton said. "It's not helping or are affecting the health and welfare of the animal.

"To go and have your ears lopped off or your tail lopped off, it doesn't help your general health. And so why are we — in the year 2019 — doing this to our animals?"

In a news release, Alberta Party MLA Rick Fraser shared a petition calling for an amendment to the Animal Protection Act, which he plans to present to the agriculture minister next month.

In a separate document, Fraser's office outlined proposed changes to the act that would consider an animal in distress "if it has undergone any form of physical mutilation, including, but not limited to tail docking, ear cropping, declawing, debarking" unless it is for a specific medical purpose.

In statement sent to CBC on Wednesday, the Canadian Kennel Club said it will continue to support breeders options as plans for legislation move forward.

"CKC continues to support freedom of choice so that purebred breeders may decide for themselves to continue this practice to promote safety in performance activities and support hygienic animal husbandry," the organization wrote.

Campbell said as a breeder she would not support a procedure if she thought it would cause trauma to an animal.

"I would never do it if I thought it was cruel or harmful to the dog," she said. "There is a looks aspect to it. But is it detrimental to the animal? We don't think so, and we think that the veterinarian should be allowed to choose if they're going to carry out these procedures."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.