HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia has introduced legislation to ban unnecessary cosmetic surgery for animals.

The changes to the Animal Protection Act were introduced Thursday by Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell.

Under the changes, surgery that alters an animal's appearance won't be allowed unless it is medically necessary.

That will include procedures such as cutting off tails, ear cropping, removing the ability of dogs to bark and declawing cats.

Dr. Frank Richardson, registrar of the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association, says the changes have placed the province at the forefront of animal protection.

The law also includes measures to strengthen animal welfare inspections and court orders.

In addition, animal fighting events will be prohibited under the revised act.