San Francisco Considers Banning Declawing of CatsPublished July 20, 2009
That ever so hot topic concerning whether a ban should or should not be instituted on the practice of declawing cats is back in the news once again. San Francisco, California is presently considering legislation which will ban the practice of declawing cats, as the result of strong advocacy against it, presented by an animal welfare advisory board to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors. Strong opposition to this pending legislation was made by the California Veterinary Association, among others who present the argument that this decision should be made only between the cat owner and his or her veterinarian. On the other hand, support for banning feline declawing was presented by the San Francisco's Commission of Animal Control and Welfare, since they just as strongly feel the surgery is predominantly performed for cosmetic purposes, and rarely for a clinical condition which warrants it. They feel that preserving cats' claws is far more crucial than keeping furniture pristine. Many people who consider declawing their cats are not precisely aware what this surgery entails. Since the claw is attached to the last joint of the toe on the cat's paw, to remove the nail necessitates amputation of the entire joint. Commenting on the practice of declaw surgery, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Director of the Behavior Clinic at Tufts University school of Veterinary Medicine and Professor of Behavioral Pharmacology said, "The inhumanity of the procedure is clearly demonstrated by the nature of cats' recovery from anesthesia following the surgery. Unlike routine recoveries, including recovery from neutering surgeries, which are fairly peaceful, declawing surgery results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain. Cats that are more stoic huddle in the corner of the recovery cage, immobilized in a state of helplessness, presumably by overwhelming pain. "Declawing fits the dictionary definition of mutilation to a tee. Words such as deform, disfigure, disjoint, and dismember all apply to this surgery. Partial digital amputation is so horrible that it has been employed for torture of prisoners of war, and in veterinary medicine, the clinical procedure serves as model of severe pain for testing the efficacy of analgesic drugs. Even though analgesic drugs can be used postoperatively, they rarely are, and their effects are incomplete and transient anyway, so sooner or later the pain will emerge." 39 countries have already banned the practice of declawing. They are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Wales, Yugoslavia. West Hollywood, California, and Norfolk, Virginia are U.S. cities that have also banned what is considered to be an inhumane practice. For additional information on declawing, visit an excellent article written by Dr. Christianne Shelling, DVM: http://www.declawing.com/ Do you think it is appropriate for county or state government to have the power to legislate the practice of declawing cats, or should it be left up to the individual owner and their veterinarian to make the decision? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.