Closed petition Ban the importation of dogs with cropped ears.

There appears to be an alarming rise in dogs imported after undergoing the inhumane procedure of having their ears mutilated, fulfilling the desire for a certain ‘look’ & encouraging a procedure outlawed in England since 1899. It’s time to close this 121-year-old legal loophole.

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Cropping a dog’s ears is illegal in the UK, yet the numbers appear to be rising. An import ban could be possible under trade rules. There are companies that specifically import dogs with cropped ears for UK owners fuelling cruelty abroad. It’s time to make imports illegal, raise awareness of the cruelty around cropped dogs & advise the public not to support companies/individuals that use cropped dogs in advertising & social media, as they’re inadvertently promoting this painful practice.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 20 October 2020

Cropping dogs’ ears is abhorrent, is banned here, and after January 2020 the Government will explore options to tackle imports of mutilated dogs, consistent with World Trade Organisation rules.

Read the response in full

Animal welfare, including the welfare of imported animals, is a priority for this Government. In the UK it is an offence to carry out a non-exempted mutilation under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act). Anyone found to be illegally cropping a dog's ears may be banned from owning animals, face an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up 6 months, or both.

The Government supports increasing the maximum custodial sentences for animal cruelty offences (of which non-exempted mutilation is one) from 6 months imprisonment to 5 years. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill was introduced into the House of Commons by Chris Loder MP on 5 February. Second Reading is due on 23 October. The Government will continue to support this as it makes its way through Parliament. The new maximum penalty of 5years will send a clear signal to any future potential offenders that animal cruelty will not be tolerated.

Banning the import of dogs with cropped ears is not possible during the transition period. Following the end of the transition period, we will look at options in line with World Trade Organisation rules.

The Government is taking steps to ensure that the illegal importation of pets is stopped, and that pets brought into the UK through legal means receive a high standard of care, including during their transportation.

The Government has powers to intervene on animal welfare grounds. Importers of animals must adhere to welfare standards as set out in Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and in domestic legislation, The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 (WATEO). This legislation aims to protect the health and welfare of animals during transportation and applies to dogs that are suffering injury as a result of non-exempted mutilations.

There are powers under the WATEO for inspectors to instruct the transporter to unload and seek immediate veterinary treatment if required for any open wounds or infections as a result of a non-exempted mutilation and where a person fails to comply with the requirements of a notice served under Article 24 of The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006, an inspector may take any steps he considers necessary to ensure the requirement is met.

The Government also continues to raise awareness regarding the improper selling of pets by deceitful sellers in the UK and abroad through our ‘Petfished’ campaign, which seeks to educate prospective pet buyers on common tricks and tactics used by deceitful sellers which may result in the purchase of a mistreated or unwell pet including those who have been subject to cropping. The campaign urges buyers to mitigate risks, for example by buying from trusted sellers such as those under the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder scheme, viewing puppies with their mothers and siblings, asking questions of the seller and following the Animal Welfare Foundation and RSPCA Puppy Contract to ensure that puppies are in good health when purchased.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Other parliamentary business

Government announces plans for new animal welfare laws

As part of the Queen's Speech on Tuesday 11th May, the Government announced that it plans to introduce new laws to protect and promote the highest standards of animal welfare in the UK.

The Government's proposals are set out in a new Action Plan for Animal Welfare, which was published this week. Its proposals focus on improving the welfare of pets and farmed animals, and protecting wild animals in the UK and animals exported or found outside the UK.

The Government intends to introduce three new Bills into Parliament to make these changes - the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, the Kept Animals Bill, and the Animals Abroad Bill. These Bills will be published in due course.

Read more about the Government's plans here:

Read the Queen's Speech background briefing notes for more information on the Government's proposed Bills:

What is the Queen's Speech?

The Queen's Speech is the speech that the Queen reads out in the House of Lords Chamber on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament.

It's written by the Government and sets out the programme of Bills - new laws, and changes to existing laws - that the Government intends to put forward in this new Parliamentary session. A session of Parliament usually lasts around one year.

Once the Government puts forward a Bill in Parliament, Parliament then debates the Government's proposal and decides whether to adopt the changes to the law set out in the Bill.

MPs debate Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was debated at second reading on Monday 25 October. This is the first opportunity for MPs to debate the main principles of a bill.

You can watch the debate on the Parliament Live TV website:

Read the transcript of the debate:

Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill

This bill aims to improve welfare standards and protect pets, livestock and wild animals.

It includes provisions to:
- Introduce new powers to tackle puppy smuggling
- Give new powers to police to protect livestock from out of control dogs
- Introduce regulations which prohibit the importation of animals that have been mutilated, such as ear-cropped dogs.

What happens next?

The bill has now been sent to a Public Bill Committee, where MPs will scrutinise the bill line by line. They are expected to report to the House by Thursday 18 November.

Read more about the bill and keep up to date with its progress:

What is a second reading?

Second reading is the first opportunity for MPs to debate the main principles of a bill.

The Government minister, spokesperson or MP responsible for the bill opens the second reading debate. They usually begin by responding with their views on the bill. The debate then continues with other Opposition parties and backbench MPs giving their opinions.

At the end of the debate, the Commons decides whether the bill should be given its second reading, meaning it can proceed to the next stage. If there isn't consensus that a bill should proceed to its next stage, MPs will vote on this.

Find out more about how second readings work:

Further information

Find out how to get involved in the work of the UK Parliament: