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Thursday, January 29, 2015

New York May Ban Declaws

My opinion on declawing cats has changed a lot over my career.  When I was growing up I had no problems with the procedure and even had my first cat declawed.  When I started blogging in 2008 one of my earliest posts was about how I supported the decision to declaw (read that here).  However, by 2011 I had made the decision to not do any more declaws and haven't done any since (I blogged about it here).  I'm not a fan of the government legislating our behaviors, and typically believe in a more limited form of government.  However, I do think that we do need laws to correct unethical behavior that people won't stop on their own.  That's why we have animal cruelty laws.  Despite my conservative, limited government political views, I'm actually in support of declaw bans.
I recently read an article about a New York Assemblywoman, Linda Rosenthal, who will be introducing a bill to ban declaws throughout the state other than for medically necessary reasons such as tumors.  Personally I think this is a step in the right direction as this is a surgery we have done for too long and about which many vets have become complacent.  I think that many vets are hesitant to go against clients and don't think about it as the kind of procedure it really amputation.

The AVMA changed its policy last year to classify feline declaws as an amputation, which was a bit of good news to those of us who are against the procedure.  A feline specialist, Dr. Margie Scherk, recently weighed in on this as part of an article on the issue by  I found her comments particularly interesting.

I know that some of my colleagues will give me heck for my viewpoint, but I'm in support of banning this procedure.  We need to change the mindset of both cat owners and veterinarians, and unfortunately the profession has been declawing cats for so long that this may only be accomplished through legislation.