Promoting Natural Beauty

Puppy with cropped ears
Why We Don't Work with Dogs with Cropped Ears. Six Reasons Why we support #FlopNotCrop

At our animal casting agency, we pride ourselves on promoting the natural beauty and well-being of our furry friends.  One of the principles that guides our work is our decision not to work with dogs with cropped ears.  While this may seem like a judgemental decision, it reflects our commitment to ethical treatment and respect for animals.  

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, if it can be verified that you rescued the dog and the dog had existing cropped ears, we will consider working with your dog.  The reason for this is that we always want to promote rescuing any breed or shape of dog.  At the end of the day, promoting rescue is just as important to us.  It proves that any dog can train and overcome their past to get a glittering career in modelling.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons behind our stance of not working with dogs that have had their ears cropped for aesthetic reasons.  We believe it’s essential to advocate for the welfare of all animals, particularly those working in the entertainment industry and this is why:

1. Ethical Concerns:

The practice of ear cropping involves surgically altering a dog’s ears for cosmetic purposes, often to achieve a certain appearance or breed standard. This procedure can be painful and traumatic for dogs, involving the removal of a significant portion of their ear tissue and subjecting them to unnecessary discomfort and risk of complications.  As advocates for animal welfare, we cannot, in good conscience, support or condone any practice that causes harm or suffering to animals.

The distress cropping causes

Director of The Animal Talent Ltd, Paula Stewart, wrote an article in Edition Dog Magazine to discuss these issues in depth.  The whole team at The Animal Talent Ltd feel very strongly that no dog should be harmed in anyway, let alone for aesthetical reasons. There is a worrying resurgence in this obscene “fashion” trend in which none of us wish to take part.  We pride ourselves in the ethics we hold and our positive treatment of animals.

2. Health and Well-being:

Ear cropping poses various health risks and complications for dogs, including pain, infection, and impaired hearing. Dogs rely on their ears for communication, balance, and spatial awareness, and altering their natural anatomy can disrupt these essential functions.

In the PDSA’s Cut The Crop campaign, the charity states that Ear cropping has no health benefits, is extremely painful, affects a dog’s ability to communicate and can cause emotional trauma.”

The RSPCA adds “As with any surgery, there are risks and ear cropping is an incredibly painful procedure for the dog. This is especially true if carried out as a ‘DIY’ procedure without prescribed anaesthetic or pain relief. The wounds can take a long time to heal, need a lot of aftercare (such as changing dressings and cleaning) and can become infected easily.”

The reality of the pain

And it’s not just the physical well-being that we care about.  It’s important to us that a dog’s mental well-being is also considered.  The British Veterinary Association states: “During early life, the brain of a puppy is still developing, which means that the trauma associated with ear cropping has the potential to negatively affect the pain tolerance of the puppy – these effects can be seen throughout the entirety of its adult life. Furthermore, this surgical mutilation is commonly performed during the socialisation period and so also has the potential to affect the dog’s emotional development alongside the ability to express natural behaviours.”

By refusing to work with dogs with cropped ears, we prioritise their health and well-being, ensuring that they are not subjected to unnecessary risks or compromised quality of life.

3. Legal concerns

In 2006 the British government made cropping illegal in England and Wales.  It is illegal for anyone to carry out this practice at home or send a dog to a vet to perform this horrific procedure.  In 2021 the Section 5 of the Animal Welfare Act was updated to include harsh punishment for those who have cropped their dogs’ ears.  These criminals can receive five years of jail time and an unlimited fine.

Some of these cruel people are getting around the law by having mutilated puppies imported from countries where it is still sadly legal.  Since 2021, the Blue Cross, along with many other charities and a large population of the population have lobbied the Government to close this loophole.  Despite initial agreement from the Government in this regard, we are still awaiting the new law taking effect.

Whatever the law says, we know that the practice of ear cropping is cruel and we will continue to lobby for change.  When we look at the licence requirements for working with animals on screen, we must, and want to, consider health and ethics.

Fear and wounds

4. Promoting Natural Diversity:

At The Animal Talent Ltd, we celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of all animals, but we cannot advocate harm to animals in any way.

By exclusively featuring dogs with natural ears in our casting selections, we promote physical and emotional well-being in dogs and encourage people not to engage in this barbaric practice.  If there is less demand, we hope there will be less supply, and therefore fewer dogs will be harmed.

If people don’t see cropped ears in the media, they will be less likely to support the practice.  We do get calls from animal owners wishing to sign up their cropped dog and we always refuse the application unless the dog was rescued in that state and the current owners are doing their best to rehabilitate.

We remain happy to challenge the rising trend of influencers and celebrities parading their harmed dogs on social media and we will not encourage this practice by allowing the photography or filming of animals that have been harmed.  Our canine companions are beautiful and diverse enough without additional alterations. We believe that all dogs deserve to be valued and celebrated for who they are, rather than conforming to arbitrary standards of appearance.

5. Setting a Positive Example:

As a leading animal casting agency, we recognise the influence and impact of our decisions on the broader community.  By taking a stand against ear cropping and advocating for the ethical treatment of animals, we set a positive example for other industry professionals.

We encourage greater awareness and consideration of animal welfare issues across the board; particularly when animals are hired for work purposes.  We hope to inspire positive change within the entertainment industry and foster a culture of compassion and respect for all animals.

6. Demand for Dog Models:

Thankfully, the reality is that TV producers, film directors and photographers don’t want to work with dogs that have been mutilated, for all of the above reasons.  We’re also grateful that most commercial brands do not wish to align themselves with mutilation, cruelty and brutality. 

For this reason, we do not get any professional requests to work with dogs who have had their ears cropped; we hope the fact that this type of dog model doesn’t get work means that less people will enter into the practice.

The natural, beautiful appearance of a Doberman

We love natural dogs!

At The Animal Talent Ltd, our decision not to work with dogs with cropped ears reflects our commitment to ethical treatment, respect for animals, and promotion of the physical and mental well-being of animals.

By prioritising our ethical standpoint at and advocating for animal rights, we strive to create a more compassionate and ethical entertainment industry that celebrates the natural beauty and uniqueness of all animals.  We invite other agencies to follow our lead and join us in supporting these values to make a positive difference for animals everywhere.

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