Monday, January 08, 2024
By
Web Desk

Chinese pet owners subjecting animals to painful 'mickey ear' cosmetic sparks outrage

Vets are condemning the practice, calling it cruel and unnecessary

By
Web Desk
Chinese pet owners subjecting animals to painful mickey ear cosmetic sparks outrage.—Welbo
 Chinese pet owners subjecting animals to painful 'mickey ear' cosmetic sparks outrage.—Welbo 

Pet owners in China are facing a backlash as they opt for a dangerous and painful cosmetic procedure, known as 'Mickey Ears,' for their dogs and cats. 

Vets are condemning the practice, calling it cruel and unnecessary. This alarming trend involves cutting animals' ears into a round shape resembling the iconic Mickey Mouse, sparking outrage and concerns for animal welfare.

In China, pet clinics offer this procedure for as little as 300 yuan (£33), while online stores sell 'DIY' clamps, enabling pet owners to carry out the mutilation at home.

Chinese pet owners subjecting animals to painful mickey ear cosmetic sparks outrage.—Welbo
 Chinese pet owners subjecting animals to painful 'mickey ear' cosmetic sparks outrage.—Welbo 

Animal experts emphasise the potential harm caused by this form of ear cropping, warning that it can lead to pain, hearing damage, and communication limitations for the animals involved.

The process involves two stages: a half-hour operation under anaesthetic to cut the ears and a 'styling phase' lasting 20 to 60 days, requiring frequent adjustments to maintain the desired shape. While currently rare in most pet hospitals, the procedure is more common in breeding facilities and dog kennels.

Unlicensed online shops have come under scrutiny for selling tools, including 'Mickey Ear' clamps, with reports revealing that some clamps restrict blood flow to parts of the animal's ear, causing it to die and fall off. 

Despite the outcry, there is no law in China forbidding this procedure, prompting calls from the public to outlaw the operation and crack down on unscrupulous vets.

Bill Lambert, an executive at The Kennel Club, condemns the practice, emphasising that dogs are not fashion accessories and such procedures lack consideration for dog welfare. 

The ability of dogs to express emotions through ear movement is hindered, impacting the bond between owners and pets. Additionally, altering the shape of dogs' ears could be detrimental to their hearing, as they independently turn their ears to funnel sound into their ear canals.

While ear cropping is illegal in the UK, the RSPCA notes a significant rise in dogs with cropped ears coming into care. Celebrity culture and social media images are raising concerns that this cruel practice may become normalised, with celebrities unknowingly contributing to its popularity.

The legality surrounding the purchase of dogs with cropped ears adds another layer to the ethical challenges posed by this trend.