Cosmetic surgery for dogs in Japan

04/10/2012
By

TOKYO (majirox news) — Years ago, one of my professors gave me a tip on manners at social functions.

He said ,”Avoid speaking about three topics: religion, politics and race.”

So, I asked him, “Then, what is the safest subject to talk about at a party?”

“Try talking about your pets, — particularly dogs.”

Today his tip is out of date. There are some dog subjects that should be avoided even when talking with dog lovers. Among the controversial touchy ones are the tail docking and ear cropping of dogs.

In Japan, a variety of dog breeds have their tails or ears trimmed when they are puppies.

For instance, Toy Poodles — the most popular breed in Japan — naturally have long tails, but their tails are cut off without anesthesia a few days after their birth. Puppies are usually purchased
at around two-months old, so the new dog owners believe that their dog was born with a short tail.

Dobermans, often appearing in movies and some commercial films as guard dogs, have a docked tail and cropped ears. The cropping of the edges of the Dobermans’ naturally floppy ears occurs when the puppies are three-months old, but in this case the operation requires anesthesia. Then the dogs wear splints for at least six months until the cartilage stiffens enough to hold the ears pointing up.

Why do the tails and ears of any dogs need to be trimmed?

Long ago, the idea of altering the dogs’ tails and ears was to protect the dog from injuries – during hunting, pit fighting, or protecting cattle from wolves. These alterations became a tradition and the symbol of working dogs. However, these days, most dogs are breed to be human companions for people.

So, then, this cosmetic surgery is done to satisfy the owners’ preferences. There are dog lovers who prefer the well-defined look of dogs that is created surgically. In contrast, there are other dog
lovers who condemn the surgeries as cruel customs. Dog lovers all over the world are either pro or con whenever this prickly subject is mentioned wherever the dog lovers’ gather.

Urged on by the animal rights advocates, the authorities have recently taken action to ban the cosmetic surgery of dogs. The practice is illegal across most of Europe, including countries that have ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals. It is also banned in Australia and South Africa. In the United States, though it isn’t banned, yet, the American Veterinary Medical Association is rigorously lobbying to outlaw the practices.

More countries are becoming concerned about animal welfare. Recently, in India cosmetic surgeries became punishable offenses. In Japan, sadly, neither ear cropping nor tail docking is banned.

One day, I encountered a small group of dog owners in a neighborhood park while I was walking my dog. We exchanged greetings, praised every dog in the group, but I already sensed that I had stepped on a landmine. Everyone was looking at my dog.

Yes! My dog has cropped ears! My dog is a friendly, but rambunctious 18-month-old Great Dane, weighing 52 kilograms (114 pounds) with pointed ears.

“Why did you cut off your dog’s ears?” a woman in the group asked.

Her little Chihuahua was yapping at me with his watery eyes as if saying, “You are in real trouble. What are you going to say?”

Let me confess. I know about the issue, the history of ear cropping, the surgical procedures, and the political background.

Then why did I have the ears of my dog cropped? Because…I like her that way. That’s it.

But, I didn’t say that to the woman. I had no intention of provoking an argument. Instead, I said, “I’ll never do it again.”

However, I hope Japan bans the practice. Then I won’t have to worry about whether to cut ears and tails or not.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Majirox News.

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One Response to Cosmetic surgery for dogs in Japan

  1. Allan on 04/18/2012 at 11:44 pm

    Why would worry about what other people think. It’s your dog and that’s it. If they want to argue about something, how about the Puppy Mills in Japan, churning out way too many puppies and selling them to pet shops.
    You like your dog as he/she is, be happy with that and forget what others think.

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