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What are the benefits and drawbacks to American pitbull ear cropping?

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Quick Answer

There is a conflict between the subjective aesthetic benefits of ear cropping American pitbulls and other dog breeds and sentiments that the optional surgery inflicts unnecessary pain on the animal, according to PetMD. Opponents do not feel that upholding breed tradition vindicates what they consider to be animal cruelty. Some proponents of ear cropping cite prevention of ear infections as a benefit, though there is not substantial medical evidence to back up this claim, states the American Veterinary Medical Foundation..

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Full Answer

There is an existing tradition of ear cropping for some dog breeds including American pitbulls, Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes. Ear cropping conforms to traditional profiles of these breeds. The American Kennel Club is in favor of ear cropping for the purpose of "preserving breed character," reports WebMD. Opposition to dog ear cropping is primarily founded in the belief that the pain associated with the procedure and healing process are cruel and inflict unjustified suffering.

Ear cropping surgery is generally performed when a puppy is 6-12 weeks old, according to WebMD. A portion of the flimsy part of the ear is removed. The ears are then bandaged and taped pointed upright to a hard surface for weeks during the healing process.

Parties opposed to ear cropping for cosmetic purposes include the ASPCA, AVMA, national veterinary medicine associations in Canada and Australia, and the European Convention for the Protection of Animals, according to the AVMA. States including Connecticut, Maryland and New Hampshire have regulations that ear cropping may only be performed by a licensed veterinarian while the dog is under local anaesthetic.

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