AVMA delegates reaffirm opposition to cosmetic ear cropping

AVMA delegates reaffirm opposition to cosmetic ear cropping

Jul 12, 2009
By dvm360.com staff
Seattle - While several AVMA delegates expressed displeasure about being cut out of last November's ear cropping and tail docking policy change, the buzzwords on Friday were that any policy reversal would result in negative "unintended consequences."

As a result, the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) House of Delegates shot down proposed changes to the policy advocating a softer position about performing these cosmetic procedures.

The resolution would have acknowledged the practice of ear cropping and tail docking and inserted language like: "It is imperative that the procedures be performed by trained, licensed and caring veterinarians using current standards of care."

The failed resolution was introduced by the Utah Veterinary Medical Association, and spurred a great deal of debate.

Arguments acknowledged these cosmetic procedures are accepted cultural practices and similar to ear piercing and circumcision (without a child's consent). Others said the United States is behind other developed countries by not banning these cosmetic procedures.

But many of the delegates focused on how this policy reversal would make the association appear weak to allied groups.

In the end, nearly three-quarters of the delegates voted against revising the policy.

In other action, delegates deferred the often contentious issue of judicious therapeutic use of antimicrobials to its Executive Board for further study and deliberation.

Dr. James Harris, of the Association of Avian Veterinarians, called on the association to take a leadership role on the issue.

"Our association is a lot like a soccer team," he said. "We dribble the ball a lot, but we don't kick goals. We need to have the confidence and security to do what we need to do and not be afraid to do it."

The reference committee that debated the issue suggested the Executive Board create a multi-disciplinary entity to consider whether the policy should be revised. The committee added that the Executive Board should provide the recommendation to the House of Delegates no later than its 2010 annual session.

Another hot-button topic during the session was a budget recommendation to cut delegates' travel allowance. Members argued that cutting the stipend would put a strain on state associations, possibly forcing them to send one, instead of two delegates.

Members were so upset over the proposed cut, which would have given each delegate just $550, that a resolution was submitted on the floor calling for the stipend's reinstatement previous amounts. Members voted 92 percent in favor of the measure.

Other action included: - Disbanding the Council on Communications. - Adding American Association of Zoo Veterinarians to the AVMA House Advisory Panel. - Withdrawing a resolution to revise the policy on use of random-source dogs and cats for research, testing and education.