The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is working with online commerce giants Amazon and eBay to prevent the sale of equipment that can be used for illegal animal procedures.
Contacting both companies, the BVA revealed that it had been made aware of certain products being marketed as suitable for puppy tail docking and dew claw removal.
These procedures are considered to be animal mutilation offenses under England and Wales’ Animal Welfare Act (2006). Scotland and Northern Ireland have similar laws in place to protect animals from unnecessary suffering.
The original purpose of some of these products was for lamb castration, which is permitted by law within the UK.
Dew claws can be removed in exceptional circumstances, but only by qualified vets, as it is a surgical procedure. DIY dew claw removal kits were also apparently recently discovered on eBay UK. These encouraged users to cut off entire toes with large nail scissors, to get rid of claws.
Amazon and eBay have reportedly removed all product listings flagged by the BVA. Furthermore, both claim to have put extra measures in place to prevent new items from being listed in the future.
“We’re pleased to see swift and positive action by the two major retailers and will continue to work collaboratively with them to strengthen checks on products, or their marketing, that can harm animal welfare,” Malcolm Morley, BVA president, said in a statement.
“I’d encourage vets and members of the public to raise concerns with retailers if they come across similar listings online in the future.”
Why are animals mutilated?
Tail docking was previously allowed on the grounds that it could prevent injury in working dogs. However, it is now illegal in the vast majority of cases. Exceptions include specific breeds of working canines and when a valid medical reason presents itself. In both cases, docking must be carried out by a licensed vet.
Docking consists of cutting or constricting the muscle, bone, and nerves in a dog’s tail with no anesthetic. This is done to remove a large portion of it, all before a puppy reaches five days old.
The BVA maintains that docking is an outdated practice that can result in chronic pain for dogs. Reduced quality of life is also a risk. It also states that it should be a last resort and carried out only for medical reasons. It has been very vocal about its disapproval of docking for cosmetic purposes.
Similarly, kitten declawing and dog ear cropping are deemed entirely unnecessary and potentially life-altering. Outmoded reasons for ear cropping include the prevention of ear infections and injuries. Both of these are “completely untrue”, according to the RSPCA.
The animal rescue organization goes further and states that ear cropping, in particular, can result in significant behavioral, health, and wellbeing changes in animals.
Continued efforts to protect animals
Referring to the partnership with the BVA, an Amazon spokesperson said: “We are proud to work in partnership with the British Veterinary Association. Amazon is relied upon by thousands of pet owners every day in the UK and we do not take this responsibility lightly.”
They went on to state that all products sold on the Amazon platform must conform to relevant laws and legislation. To prevent sellers from falling through the net and listing illegal items, the e-commerce giant has apparently created ‘industry-leading tools.” It also promises to take action against those that attempt to circumnavigate them.
Similarly, eBay UK has initiated automatic block filters to prevent illegal items being listed for sale. It will follow up with manual checks to ensure animal welfare.
“We will also continue to work closely with the BVA to make sure that we stop the sale of any product that may harm any animal,” Murray Lambell, eBay Uk general manager said in a statement.