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Foreground: ear-cropped boxer , background: tail-cropped boxer

Under cropping (French: couper = cut ) refers to the operational removal ( amputation ) of some caudal vertebrae in horses and dogs , the docking of tails for sheep and pigs , the fashion-related reduction of ears in dogs and maiming of beaks in poultry . Congenital shortening of the tail, on the other hand, does not fall under the term and is referred to as brachyuria .


Cropped tail
Short cut tails
Braided tails

Driving horses (see also driving sport ) and some other horses used to have their tail beets docked regularly . It is or was considered to be aesthetic , especially in the case of heavy horse breeds , because it emphasized their massive croup, which appears to be “split” due to the muscles (“split croup ”).

In addition, the argument is and has been put forward that cropping reduces the risk of lines getting jammed in driving horses. However, warm-blooded horse breeds that were used as driving horses were almost never docked without complications. In addition, cutting the tail short partly fulfills the same purpose as cropping and can - especially if it is combined with the more time-consuming braiding of tail hair - prevent lines from becoming trapped. In fact, even in competitive driving tests, only about 20% of the (uncut) horses have their tails tied in without causing problems with the leashes. Time reasons should play no or only a subordinate role for this small proportion, as braiding or tying in tails and manes, for example, in show jumping and dressage tests are quite common.

In various EU countries, docking is now banned - except in cases of medical necessity - despite resistance from some breeders and is considered to be cruelty to animals. These include Germany ( Section 6 of the Animal Welfare Act ; previously banned in the 1930s), Austria ( Animal Welfare Act (TSchG) Section 7, Federal Law Gazette I No. 118/2004 as amended by Federal Law Gazette I No. 35/2008) and Switzerland ( Animal Protection Ordinance , Chapter 2: Animal husbandry and handling of animals, Section 3: Prohibited actions, Art. 21.a). Horses with docked tails are often no longer allowed to be presented at shows in the prohibited countries, including licensing presentations.

However, enforcement of the prohibitions is not always guaranteed. In a licensing in the Netherlands in 2004, despite the prohibition, only one of about 90 stallions was not docked. From Belgium, however, it is known that after the ban in 2002, breeders initially tried to send their foals to neighboring France for docking because docking there was legal and veterinarians were willing to confirm the alleged medical necessity; however, the foals were not admitted to Belgian shows.


Legal provisions

In some of the countries of Europe, docking dogs has been banned, in Switzerland since 1981 (ears) and 1997 (tail), in Germany since 1987 (ears) and 1998 (tail), in Austria since 2000. Exceptions are amputations medical indication (e.g. tumors , torn tail) or in Germany for hunting according to § 6 Animal Welfare Act. This docking ban also applies if the operation is carried out in countries where this is still permitted. Docked dogs may no longer be imported into Switzerland, Austria and some other European countries (exceptions are short visits by foreigners, proof of amputation as a result of a medical indication or proof of docking before the provisions come into force).

Cropping a Doberman's ears inflicts prolonged pain on the animal that is not for any reasonable cause. The measure is therefore contrary to animal welfare and punishable by law. This also applies if the surgery on the ears was not carried out in Germany but abroad, where this is still permitted. Because if you only take your dog abroad at short notice in order to have your ears cropped there, you are liable to prosecution because the dog does not only experience the pain immediately during the procedure. Rather, this pain continues for several weeks during the follow-up treatment (2-4 weeks). There is no reasonable reason for cropping the ears within the meaning of the Animal Welfare Act (AG Neunkirchen, Az. 19.536 / 93).

Docking the tail

Proponents give various reasons for docking the rod . For example, in short-haired breeds , the risk of injury should be avoided by striking the tail, which is insufficiently padded with fur. Hunting dogs should be given greater mobility when working in dense wood, which is why this operation can still be carried out on such animals in Germany today. A docked tail puts the dog at a disadvantage when it comes to gestures of communication and movement, such as running through curves, jumps, etc. The docking of the tail in dogs is in Germany according to § 6 of the Animal Welfare Act, with the exception of those mentioned in paragraph 1a and 1b Exceptions, forbidden.

The docking of the tail in dogs is done at an age of 1–3 days, nowadays mostly under general anesthesia . Scientific research has disproved the claim that very young dogs would not experience pain (when done without anesthesia). Afterwards, newborn dogs feel much more pain than adult dogs. During the procedure, the skin is incised and withdrawn in a circular manner with a scalpel and the tail is clipped between the vertebrae. As a rule, suturing is not necessary as the wound closes within a short time, but it is often done nowadays. In older dogs, tail docking is a far more complex surgical procedure. In addition to adequate pain therapy, antibiotic therapy is often required following the procedure .

In another method, a tight rubber band causes the rod to die off. This method is used by English breeders. The rubber band interrupts the blood supply to the end of the rod and thus leads to the formation of gangrene . After two to three days, the dead part of the tail falls off.

Cropping the ears

Cropped ear on an American Staffordshire Terrier

When the ears are cropped, the ear is clamped in a metal clamp ("clip"). After the ear has been trimmed, the edges are sutured to form a wound edge. The ears are then attached under tension over the dog's head with an adhesive bandage so that the edges of the wound do not contract and thus the new shape of the ears is impaired. Infections can be prevented by antibiotic therapy.

After a week, the ears are then clamped in a frame that is placed on the head for several weeks or months or glued up with tampons, since the cartilage of the ear is not hard enough to hold the ear in an upright position. This process can be tedious if the ear is not docked adequately. Ears that do not stop after cropping are z. B. stabilized by inserting silicone rods, muscle tightening on the head or skin removals are carried out.

Exhibition ban

Since 2002 the Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen (VDH) has been prohibited from exhibiting dogs from Germany and abroad whose ears were docked after January 1, 1987 or whose tail was amputated after June 1, 1998.

In Switzerland, the exhibition ban was introduced by the Swiss Cynological Society (SKG) in 2006 and also affects foreign dog owners who were previously allowed to show their dogs in Switzerland.

In Austria there has been a ban on testing docked hunting dogs since 2014, and docking of the tail has been prohibited there since 2005. The Animal Welfare Act, which came into force on December 29, 2012, also stipulates in Section 7 that the "exhibiting, importing, acquiring, placing and passing on dogs that are after January 1, 2008 born and whose body parts were interfered with that are prohibited in Austria ”.

Breed standards

In 2010, the FCI Board of Directors determined that formulations requiring surgery would be rejected in all FCI standards and included this notice in the FCI model standard .


A bitten off tail in a pig: the reason for docking

To prevent cannibalism in intensive animal husbandry, the tails of pigs are docked after a few days of life. According to Section 5 of the Animal Welfare Act (Germany) , anesthesia is not required in Germany to shorten the tail of piglets under four days old. The intervention may only be carried out by a veterinarian or a person who has been trained in animal welfare issues with pigs. Older animals must be anesthetized or pain relievers must be administered.

Animal rights organizations such as the Albert Schweitzer Foundation for Our Environment demand a ban on docking tails, as the pigs experience acute and sometimes chronic pain as a result of the intervention. They criticize the fact that docking the animals is adapted to the poor husbandry conditions in factory farming, and that instead an improvement in the husbandry conditions itself is appropriate.


According to Section 6 of the TierSchG, it is permitted in Germany to shorten the tails of male calves under three months old if it can be proven that this is necessary for animal use. A legitimate reason is to prevent cannibalism in intensive cattle farming . If there is a veterinary indication that requires the intervention, there is an exception to the ban on amputation in individual cases.


In today's intensive animal husbandry, the animals can behave in which the animals bite off each other's body parts (ears, tails ...). This is countered, among other things, by docking the beaks of the poultry. According to § 6 TierSchG, this is permitted in Germany if it can be made credible that the animals are threatened with greater damage without docking. However, experience from Austria shows that other methods are more successful.

Similar cases

In some comparable cases one does not speak of cropping or only exceptionally .

Dehorning in cattle

Dehorned cattle

The usual dehorning of calves is permitted by law, although it is pointed out again and again that the horns have an important function for the cattle (herd behavior, ranking, milk quality) and that dehorning affects the animal's entire physique. This is avoided today by increasing the number of hornless cattle breeds being bred. The age limit for dehorning without anesthesia is six weeks in Germany and two weeks in Austria.

Removing claws

Removing the claws of cats is banned in various EU countries and is considered animal cruelty.

Removal of vocal cords

Surgical removal of the vocal cords in laboratory animals is prohibited in the EU.

supporting documents

  1. a b Eberhard Holin: A misery without end? The docking of draft horses. Part 2: Cropping Today. on: (accessed October 23, 2008)
  2. Animal Welfare Act (TSchG) § 7
  3. Animal Welfare Ordinance. Chapter 2: Animal husbandry and handling of animals, Section 3: Prohibited actions, Art. 21.a. As of September 1, 2008 (accessed October 23, 2008)
  4. W. Erhardt, J. Henke, J. Haberstroh: Anesthesia and analgesia in small and domestic animals. Schattauer Verlag, Stuttgart / New York, 2004, ISBN 3-7945-2057-2 , p. 371.
  5. ^ Exhibition ban for docked dogs
  6. ↑ No testing for docked hunting dogs . Federation of Austrian Hunting Associations . May 6, 2013.
  7. Model standard of the FCI
  8. Directive 2008/120 / EC of the Council of December 18, 2008 on minimum requirements for the protection of pigs.
  9. Factory farming - pigs. Avoidability and demands. Albert Schweitzer Foundation for Our Environment, accessed on December 8, 2015 .
  10. Lower Saxony Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection of July 8, 2013: Lower Saxony stops shortening the beak of laying hens
  11. § 5 Animal Welfare Act

Web links

Wiktionary: kupieren  - explanations of meanings, word origins , synonyms, translations