Chinese media reports that a growing number of pet owners are putting their animals through painful cosmetic procedures to give them rounded ears inspired by Mickey Mouse.

Most cats and dogs have naturally pointy or floppy ears, but a new disturbing trend in China has pet owners ignoring common sense and their animals’ physical and mental well-being for the promise of stylish ‘Mickey Ears’.

Some shady pet clinics will slice part of the animal’s ears off to achieve the Mickey Mouse look, but there are also a variety of special clamps available online for pet owners disturbed enough to perform the procedure themselves. Recent coverage of this bizarre trend sparked controversy online, with most of the general public urging authorities to ban the ‘Mickey Ears’ procedure and punish those who would torture defenseless animals purely for cosmetic purposes.

 As veterinarians, we adhere to the principle of animal welfare and do not advocate these surgeries. The colleagues I’ve encountered are tacitly opposed to such surgeries.

Liu added that the surgical procedure is a two-step process. The first stage involves the cutting and shaping of the pet’s ears and takes about half an hour, while the second stage takes between 20 and 60 days and ensures that the ears remain upright. The entire experience can be extremely traumatic for animals and can leave them with physical and psychological effects.