10/28/2015 06:13 EDT | Updated 10/30/2015 09:59 EDT

Ear Cropping On Dogs Banned By B.C. Veterinarians

The procedure was ruled "unethical."

Veterinarians in B.C. have voted in favour of banning cosmetic ear cropping on dogs.

The procedure involves cutting off the external flap of a dog's ears, and often taping them so they stand up straight rather than flopping over. Some owners opt for the surgery in pursuing a certain look for their animals.

There's no scientific proof that cropping has a medical benefit for dogs, but studies suggest that the change can harm a canine's behaviour and communication habits, the College of Veterinarians of B.C. said in a media release Wednesday.

Ear cropping is an "unwarranted surgical procedure requiring general anesthesia, and in some cases results in complications such as infection, pain and death," said Larry Odegard, an executive officer with the college.

He advised that the surgery is unnecessary except in cases of injury or for health concerns.

Vets in B.C. caught doing the "unethical practice" will "face disciplinary action," said the college.

B.C. is the latest province to forbid the practice, joining Manitoba and the Atlantic region.

Many countries already prohibit ear cropping including much of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, said the college.

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