13 March 2024
Animal Welfare - Cropped Ears

The practice of non-exempted mutilations such as cropping dogs' ears is abhorrent and has rightly been banned in the UK for 15 years. The cropping of a dog’s ears is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Since the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 came into force, anyone convicted of such an offence face being sent to prison for up to five years, or receiving an unlimited fine, or both.

However, I am aware that the importation of dogs with non-exempted mutilations such as cropped ears or docked tails is still allowed under the current pet travel rules. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ran a consultation on changes to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain, which included a proposal to ban the import of dogs with cropped ears. Defra is carefully reviewing the feedback gathered from the consultation. I look forward to reading the Government’s response in due course.

I am aware that the Animal Welfare (Import of Dogs, Cats and Ferrets) Bill, sponsored by Selaine Saxby MP, seeks to tackle the import of dogs with cropped ears. The Bill aims to introduce stringent measures to regulate the import of the titled pets, ensuring their health and safety during transportation and deterring illegal trade practices. Its Second Reading is scheduled for Friday 15th March. I am supportive of the ambitions of the Bill and will follow any developments relating to this Bill closely.