Wednesday 29 July 2009

Cat-Photo-Technique Flickr Group

I have got to spread the word of a Flickr group that I started called, cat-photo-technique. It was started to encourage better cat photography. There is a lot of cat photography, as we know, on the internet, and I would like to see some more well worked out images using good technique that are based on the work of the best cat photographer, Helmi Flick.




In fact, it was the fantastic quality of Helmi's photographs that inspired me to create the cat-photo-technique Flickr group.

And maybe this was foretold or meant to be. Flickr is similar to Flick is it not! Anyone can submit photos to the group, amateurs or pros. They are all feed into the stream as seen above. And the best get to go on the home page of PoC the main site where they will get seen by thousands each day. Featured photos are also presented on the cat-photo-technique page of the PoC website - here are some links to have a see for yourselves:


From Cat-Photo-Technique Flickr Group to Home Page

Monday 27 July 2009

Google My Maps to Improve Your Blog

I would strongly advise using Google My Maps to Improve your blog. I use this fantastic software to create maps to illustrate the geographic ranges of the wild cats. OK, that is pretty specific stuff. But the potential is awesome. You can also use third party software to embed your maps into you blog. I am guessing but I am pretty sure that Google will be doing this themselves soon.

At the moment you would normally produce your map using My Maps and then link to it. But having produced some maps of my own I found a means to embed them. Here is an example:



In the above map, the range of the African golden cat is illustrated in blue. Little is known about this wild cat so my idea is that if the map is public and anyone can upgrade it, this should in time result in a greater knowledge of this cat, which in turn should assist conservation efforts. The original map that feeds this embed is here: African golden cat range. This is serious but stuff but it can be fun too. You can see the page on the range of this wild cat here: African golden cat geographic range.

The kinds of things that can be done with Google My Maps are outlined in this Google video:



This next video you have probably seen! It is that good but it illustrates how you can let other people collaborate on your maps (if you allow it) and allow the map to be public or private:



Most people will use Google My Maps to, for example, plot routes to places which can then be published. A classic purpose might be to show people how to find your house if you are having a party or selling it. You can add photographs and videos to places that are identified by flags, which can be dragged into position very easily.

There are just so many possibilities for Google My Maps to improve your Blog. On the basis that you can embed the map and write notes, add photos and embed videos about the places marked on the map you can virtually build an entire page around a map. Of course, for SEO reasons you'll need to add some words to the article too!



From Google My Maps to Improve Your Blog to Home Page

Tuesday 21 July 2009

USA Cities Must Ban Declawing

USA Cities Must Ban Declawing -- In the following linked article I urged people to oppose California Bill SB 762. Well, as I thought it, has been passed by the Californian government and signed off by the governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. It passed the Assembly recently on a 59-6 vote. Earlier it passed the Senate, 31-6. This is a pretty conclusive vote for the bill. The problem is that the politicians are rather short sighted. On the face of it Bill SB 762 looked OK. The idea was to ensure uniformity of legislation and regulations concerning the professions throughout California and to stop local legislators such as the wise men and women of West Hollywood enacting laws that regulated a profession at a local level, in this case veterinarians who wantonly declaw in breach of ethics and against the interests of the patient.

But the successful ban in West Hollywood meant that there were different rules across the state. The important point that the politicians who passed Bill SB 762 didn't recognise is that the ban at West Hollywood is the right law.

Bill SB 762 (is it now an Act, I am not sure) comes into force on January 1st 2010. This allows a shortish window of opportunity for any other city or municipality to enact new legislation along the lines of West Hollywood's ban. One such city is San Francisco who have shown an intention to do this. The San Francisco Commission of Animal Control and Welfare recommended to the Board of Supervisors that they should enact legislation that bans declawing in the city for non-therapeutic purposes.

To an outsider like me it is shocking and bizarre that these local bans are so slow to be enacted. It is obvious that declawing should be banned when it is for the convenience of the cat's owner and when the veterinarian associations fail to act to curb their veterinarians. How complicated is it?

Anyway, all cities who have been thinking of banning declawing for non-therapeutic purposes need to get their skates on. Over to you guys....USA Cities Must Ban Declawing in my opinion.

See: Declawing Cats for lots of links and comment on this provocative subject.



From USA Cities Must Ban Declawing to Home Page

Saturday 18 July 2009

Short Legs of Dwarf Cats

The short legs of dwarf cats are thought to be due to pseudoachondroplasia a type of short-limb dwarfism. It affect people as well. The prefix “pseudo” is used as the affects of this genetic mutation is not the same as achondroplasia dwarfism. The difference (as I mention on the dwarf cat health issues page) is that while pseudoachondroplasia is characterised by short limbs and a normal head, achondroplastic dwarfism is characterised by short legs and an enlarged head.

I don’t know how settled the assessment of the genetic mutation is dwarf cats is. But I do know that recent research has uncovered the cause of the canine equivalent of the dwarf cat, the dachshund.

Research indicates that the short legs of the dachshund (a dog with a normal body and head like dwarf cats and short legs) are due to the mutation, thousands of years ago, of a single gene.

The American National Human Genome Research Institute discovered that all short-legged purebred dogs carried an extra copy of a gene that codes for a “growth-promoting protein called fibroblast growth factor 4 (FGF4)”. This gene is thought to be, “a retrogene that was inserted into the dog genome some time after the ancestor of modern dog breeds diverged from wolves.”

Its presence results in the overproduction of the FGF4 protein, which is believed to switch on growth receptors at the wrong time during foetal development. This in turn causes the legs to be short and out of proportion.

The question I have is whether this research has any bearing on the creation of the short legs of dwarf cats? Answers would be welcome and can be submitted, please, on a form at the base of the Dwarf Cats and Miniature Cats page.

From the Short Legs of Dwarf Cats to Dwarf Cats and Miniature Cats

Friday 17 July 2009

Oppose California Bill SB 762

Before I start and ask people to oppose California Bill SB 762, let me say that I am an outsider. I am not American. That has benefits and detriments. On the upside it means I am more likely to see the bigger picture, to stand back, to not be indoctrinated by tens of years of culture that considers that the declawing of cats is acceptable. And there are many millions of people in America who profess to love their cats and who believe that they do love their cats and yet assault them viciously in requesting that a veterinarian declaw them for non-therapeutic reasons.

On the downside it means I have to charter my way through a minefield of legislation that looks a bit odd. Why oppose California Bill SB 762?

The objective (or at least one of the objectives) of SB 762 seems to be to ensure uniform statewide governance of licensed professions. That is to prohibit cities or counties from restricting procedures that are licensed by the State Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). In relation to the declawing of cats this bill seems to refer to (and be a reaction to) the West Hollywood declawing ban that was at first successfully challenged by the California Veterinary Medical Association; the decision then being overturn on appeal by the Court of Appeal who upheld the anti-declaw ordinance, which is the only one of its kind in the nation.

On the face of it, California Bill SB 762 would seem to be concerned with blocking any more cities and municipalities who are thinking about doing the same thing as the now famous West Hollywood. Yet:
It is important to note that this bill does not seek to undo the West Hollywood ordinance and includes a grandfathering clause that preserves the City of West Hollywood's 2003 anti-declawing ordinance. (quoted from info.sen.ca.gov website)
However, the bill would seem to be about preventing similar actions. Supporters of California Bill SB 762 say that:
....without legislation ensuring uniform statewide governance of licensed professions, professional standards will be dissimilar and discordant. (quoted from info.sen.ca.gov website)
The last argument, in my opinion completely misses the point. It is a very narrow argument. Any decision should be based on what is correct and proper. It is patently obvious that declawing is wrong and no matter how many weasel words or smoke screens that are used by veterinarians, it is right and proper to ban it through legislation at any level if the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) don't do their job and at least regulate the practice far more closely (or better still plain ban it).

On that sound footing it is argued that it is state legislation that is "discordant" and out of step with the city legislators who reflect the proper course of action. In short, the West Hollywood legislation is correct and the state should follow. This may sound like an extravagant thing to say but in the USA, the city of West Hollywood is at the forefront of much needed change. It is the beginning of change and that is why they are currently alone. If the state followed West Hollywood, there would be complete uniformity and the objective of this proposed legislation would be met. If state legislation tries to prevent cities doing the proper thing it will only cause future litigation and problems. And I call upon all those cities who are or have considered passing ordinances banning declawing to go ahead as this might disrupt things.

It seems that the only way to ban declawing (if the WVMA and other associations won't and it would be far easier if they did) is to do it piecemeal in small "bite sized pieces" and thereby chip away at it. This is because the bigger legislators are unprepared to do it probably because at the state level there is too many people pulling in different directions and it becomes unmanageable.

Another point of note is that not all vets are affiliated to the AVMA and that could lead to discordant regulations. Legislation would provide an umbrella of rules to ensure a uniform approach.

Opponents of California Bill SB 762 say:
...that local jurisdictions have the right to make specific decisions relating to professions and that the appellate court's decision should be upheld.
Yes, because it is the only way to get the job done of stopping the legalised yet criminal assault on innocent cat companions by unethical veterinarians who routinely recommend it against the interests of the patient, the cat and in breach of their oath. More to come. Any errors in this? Please leave a comment and it will be corrected.

Oppose California Bill SB 762 - See:


From Oppose California Bill SB 762 to Home Page

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Veterinarians' Arguments for Declawing

On reading letters from veterinarians to the council of the City of Berkeley, California, in support of not banning declawing in late 2003, I note that Veterinarian's arguments for declawing include the following:
  1. Decisions on declawing should be made between the veterinarian and the client and without interference from legislators.
  2. If cats were not declawed there would be more abandonment and euthanasia of cats because, for example, immuno-suppressed people "can have an increased risk of infection from a simple cat scratch" or "scratches can be harmful to the frail and elderly"
  3. People accept cat neutering and spaying which is more invasive (so one vet said) so why can't we accept declawing.
The Cat Fanciers Assocation says that the "majority of American veterinarians perform declawing surgery, either routinely suggesting it to clients or as a last resort for cats that would otherwise be euthanized.."


Please Note: I like America and Americans but strongly dislike the culture of declawing. Everything that I say or do in relation to the cat is on the basis of treating the cat as I would a person, with respect. Declawing is highly disrespectful of our cat companions - worse, much worse.


Note: As I understand it the Supreme Court of America has since 2003 allowed the ban on declawing to proceed in Berkeley as it was claimed to be against the freedom to conduct business.

I would like to address the above arguments:

Decisions on declawing should be made between the veterinarian and the client and without interference from legislators.

Yes, in an ideal world the above statement is true but American Veterinarians have in general shown themselves to be incapable of behaving morally in respect of declawing and are frequently in breach of their code of ethics and oath in this regard. As the American Veterinary Medical Association policy of declawing cats actively, by implication, promotes poor behaviour by vets in relation to declawing of cats there is no other course of action to protect cats from the criminal acts of declawing other than the outright banning of it. And we should all praise and commend the council members and major of Berkeley for being enlightened and courageous enough to see this legislation through. Well done. See: American Vets are Unethical Towards the Cat, AVMA Policy on Declawing Cats, Psychology of Declawing. Note: to describe declawing as a "criminal act" is not a biased, subjective or emotional statement but one made in the cold light of the fact that it is exactly that in many countries in Europe, where it is banned. What happened to America?

If cats were not declawed there would be more abandonment and euthanasia of cats

This might be correct but the argument is based on two wrongs making a right and we all know that that is not a good argument. There is a counter argument. Cats that are declawed can and do suffer from behavioral problems such as urinating outside the litter box. This behavior can and probably will lead to cats being relinquished.

In any event, the answer is not in compounding the victimisation of the humble and silent cat companion by killing it because it doesn't fit in (because it is scratching - a natural act), but to better train and educate people to make proper decisions in relation to whether they should keep cats. If all people made decisions as to whether they should keep a cat on the basis that it would be kept intact (and not declawed) then the decision would be made on a sound basis.

If the answer is to not keep a cat that might initially result in more cats in rescue homes but you can't make a right by adopting mutiple wrongs. There has to be a return to sound fundamentals and then the problems of over breeding of cats and feral cats will gradually be resolved. Declawing actually encourages the breeding of cats because it allows people who would not normally keep cats to adopt a declawed one. A person who insists on declawing must be unsuitable to keep a cat because the relationship is based at the outset on the human companion brutally assaulting the cat companion. What kind of relationship is that?!

Unfortunately millions of cat keeping people in America see no problem with declawing. This, I argue is the result of years of indoctrination by American veterinarians insidiously conditioning the public into believing that it is acceptable and pain free bla, bla, bla.

Immuno suppressed people and frail people shouldn't keep cats if it is dangerous as vets seem to say.

People accept cat neutering and spaying which is more invasive so why can't we accept declawing

This sounds like a reasonable argument until you think about it. One way to look at it is to refer to humans. We accept sterilisation of ourselves in many millions because it is a practical way of dealing with a flawed situation. It is the best compromise. Globally one fifth of married couples rely on the sterilization of the female as a birth control measure. In places like India and China the figure is higher at 33% of married couples (Earth Policy Institute).

The best practice way of dealing with and managing the cat population is through sterilisation. The procedure has a profound and important purpose and we do it to ourselves as I said.

99.9% of the time declawing has no purpose other than to protect a person's personal possessions! This is not a good reason. Plus we do not do it to ourselves (amputate the top joint of each finger) as we know it is totally unacceptable. The thought of it is bizarre. We should not do to cat companions what we would not do to ourselves.

I am surprised that educated veterinarians can make such ill conceived arguments in favour of declawing. Perhaps, though, it is not surprising as they were desperately searching for arguments to justify the unjustifiable and they themselves (in large numbers) are also conditioned into believing it is alright. Veterinarians' arguments for declawing are weak and flawed.



From Veterinarians' Arguments for Declawing to Home Page

Tuesday 14 July 2009

A Cat Hater and Shooter

I have just found a bona fide American cat hater and shooter. Here he is in a video made by a friend by the look of it. There are cat haters the world over. But the lax American gun laws means that there is probably a greater likelihood of an American shooting a cat than in Europe. Australia is similar to America it seems on shooting cats as it is legal and encouraged in some states (Ground Shooting of Feral Cats). In the UK it is rarely done and illegal although there are airgun attacks and too many of them.


Please note: This posting is not an attack on America or the American people. That might be obvious. But a criticism of an individual who is a danger to cats. It is also a criticism of irresponsible cat ownership. I like America but everything that goes on there is not good. The same applies to all countries. This site always supports the cat and looks at the world from that standpoint.

This person has an air rifle or spring rifle. He proudly shows off to the camera how skilled he is with it. If you can understand him, he constantly says how he would like to shoot a cat, how he hates cats and how he has kicked a cat. He seems to hate a lot of things and takes pleasure in venting that hatred out on cats.

There an overriding sense from this video that he is your classic cat hating shooter! It is all that ignorance and violence coming out in front of the camera.

What he completely fails to understand is that it is irresponsible people like him who create the feral cat problem. The cat is simply the innocent pawn or victim in the casual carelessness of so many people who lack a moral compass and even simple common sense.

If he loves to shoot things including cats, he should shoot the perpetrators of irresponsible behaviour. I would hope that the person he shoots at is missed and shoots back. Maybe there would be an outcome beneficial to humanity and the victimised cat:


Backyard - The most amazing bloopers are here

This scruffy fool is a cat hater and shooter and I was keen to see one; to put a face to some people (a lot as far as I can see) who write on the forums about shooting cats. I have just read a forum on metafilter.com about shooting cats. It was a long dialogue, a ramble between, mostly, people who could justify shooting cats. And one even admitted to doing it and getting pleasure from it! He should be reported to the police but would they do anything? Of course not.

There are many aggressive and silly males who like to shoot cats. They justify it with all manner of wild and rash argument that is completely unsubstantiated such as they kill millions of birds. There is precious little scientific data on the impact of feral cats, or any cats, on bird populations. Scientific data points more to ground animals being killed as it is easier prey. Any excuse to kill a cat, it seems.

There is no doubt that many people, often the ignorant, who hate cats. It really is borne out of ignorance and training; being trained by a father and mother who were equally ignorant and so perpetuating this violence.



From A Cat Hater and Shooter to Home Page

Protect the Cats of Beverly Hills

This is a verbatim copy of an email from the Stray Cat Alliance on the matter of an ordinance (legislation) t0 stop decent people from feeding and treating humanely feral cats in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. The Stray Cat Alliance asked that this: PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG - AUGUST 4, 2009 7:00 p.m. - NEXT CITY COUNCIL MEETING TO DETERMINE WHICH ORDINANCE WILL PASS VERY IMPORTANT WE SHOW UP AGAIN AND STOP CITY FROM ENACTING A BAN ON FEEDING AND/OR CRIMINALIZING FEEDING



Trap Neuter Return is a community problem and needs to be dealt with at a community wide level.

Before reading the following page, if you have no knowledge of this story:

HELP FIGHT BEVERLY HILLS MUNICIPAL CODE(opens in new window).

Here is the email. Please copy and republish if you can or wish. By implication it is licensed to be republished under a creative commons license - Attribution 2.0 Generic - simply give a credit to the authors, "Stray Cat Alliance":

............."Christi Metropole, SCA volunteers and advocates from other humane groups kept the Beverly Hills City Council Chambers going into the early morning hours on Tuesday, July 7, 2009 to prevent prior inhumane language denying the feeding of cats on public property from being reinstated into the Beverly Hills City Codes. The supporters were united in their goal to protect the cats of Beverly Hills and prevent their caregiver, Katherine Varjian, from being jailed for her responsible and compassionate care for cats in Beverly Hills over the past 12 years.


Stray Cat Alliance passed out red ribbons to all opponents of the ordinance. They wore them to signify their solidarity against this prejudicial language. The City Council heard complaints from residents who want a complete ban of feeding cats on public property. The 102 humane activists spent hours detailing their expertise and giving solutions to the real issue of a lack of a proper TNR ("Trap, Neuter and Return") program in Beverly Hills. Implementing this program along with proper care and adopting kittens and socialized cats from the colonies would ultimately resolve the propagation of cats around the glamorous residences of Beverly Hills. The City Council decided to table the vote until a new ordinance could be written and approved.


Christi Metropole is working with Marcia Hobbs of the Beverly Hills Courier, Beverly Hills city staff, the main complainant and representatives of humane organizations to create a positive solution before the August 4th, 2009 City Council meeting. The goal is to come up with a plan where there will be peaceful coexistence between local residents and stray and feral cats and their caregivers. The best solution would be a progressive ordinance that puts Beverly Hills at the forefront of the movement to institutionalize TNR as the most humane and effective manner of lowering the number of cats on the streets. While countless unsterilized or unmaintained cat colonies exist all over the city that never get the publicity or support, Beverly Hills takes issue over this small number of cats in a four block radius. These cats are the fortunate ones who have lived healthy lives due to Ms. Varjian's consistent care and TNR efforts. Due to harassment and threats, Ms. Varjian has been relegated to rapidly feeding and no longer spaying/neutering new cats which has resulted in new births. Now these animals' lives are in jeopardy.


Please assist SCA in this campaign to save the cats and promote TNR as a model program for solution in Beverly Hills.

ACTION: There will be a Beverly Hills City Council Meeting on August 4, 2009 to vote on the new proposed ordinance or adopt the old, draconian ordinance. Please be there.


If you live in the City of Beverly Hills, contact your mayor and city council members. If you know anyone who lives in Beverly Hills, please educate them on this issue and urge them to call the City Council and Mayor.


Mrs. Varjian will also be going back to court on August 7, 2009 for her hearing."


All caring people should Protect the Cats of Beverly Hills as it is a reflection on our humanity. It is how we are judged.



From Protect the Cats of Beverly Hills to Home Page

Monday 13 July 2009

Tenectomy or tendonectomy on Cats

Performing a tenectomy or tendonectomy on cats is a cynical way for American veterinarians to wriggle around the impossible moral difficulties that they face when carrying out the brutal and unnecessary declawing procedure.

Declawing is big in America. It is simply big business (about $20 billion on my estimate) and it is that which drives vets to do it. But despite all the feeble attempts to justify what is cosmetic surgery for the benefit of the cat owner (and to dress it up otherwise is nonsense) declawing is a problem for vets. Some even refuse to do it! I am shocked!

On the basis that declawing does present moral questions for a small percentage of American veterinarians they had to devise an alternative that seemed more acceptable to the public. A procedure that repackaged the process but which still brought in those precious dollars.

And they came up with the procedure of tenectomy or tendonectomy on cats (it can be performed on other animals). This procedure is defined as "the surgical resection of part of a tendon". Notice the jargon of the word, "resection". Resection means, "the partial or complete removal of an organ or other bodily structure". In other words the procedure of tenectomy or tendonectomy on cats is the cutting and removal of a part of the tendon of the cat which in turn is part of the mechanism that controls the extension (flexing) of the cat's claws.

In removing this piece of the cat's anatomy the cat's claws cannot be retracted (drawn in) and are rendered almost useless, as I understand it. The after effects are as high as for declawing (although this is still work in progress it would seem). Incidentally, the level of short-term after surgery complications for declawing is not as low as some vets make out. They can be as high as 50% and in the long term as high as 20% "Feline Onychectomy at a Teaching Institution: A Retrospective Study of 163 Cases," Veterinary Surgery, Vol. 23, no. 4 (July-August 1994): 274-280). My thanks to this website: catclinicofnorman.com.

The procedure of tenectomy or tendonectomy on cats is becoming increasingly common. The cat owner will need to trim and maintain the cat's claws regularly after the operation. I wonder whether they do bearing in mind that a request to carry out this procedure is likely to come from people who are not that inclined to devote a lot of time to their cat? This may result in more health problems for the cat.

As the procedure is newish there have been no long term analysis as to its effects on cat welfare. On that basis alone it should not be carried out or recommended by veterinarians and in any case it is the same story. A wholly unnecessary surgical procedure that is prohibited under the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals (note: the procedure is not referred to by name as it is new but is still covered by the convention under Art 10 as it is non-curative and totally unnecessary in respect of benefit to the animal).

Article 10 – Surgical operations
  1. Surgical operations for the purpose of modifying the appearance of a pet animal or for other non-curative purposes shall be prohibited and, in particular:
    1. the docking of tails;
    2. the cropping of ears;
    3. devocalisation;
    4. declawing and defanging;
  2. Exceptions to these prohibitions shall be permitted only:
    1. if a veterinarian considers non-curative procedures necessary either for veterinary medical reasons or for the benefit of any particular animal;
    2. to prevent reproduction.
This procedure simply adds to the problem of the unethical approach of American veterinarians in regards to their propensity to conduct non-curative operations on cat companions.

Further reading:


From Tenectomy or tendonectomy on Cats to Home Page

Sunday 12 July 2009

AVMA Policy on Declawing Cats

The AVMA Policy on Declawing Cats is shameful and deplorable. It is criminality transformed into normality through deep seated denial and deceit. It is made all the worse by the fact that this association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, professes to uphold the highest standards of professional behavior. The criminality is perpetrated by the pillars of American society, the ever reliable, homely and charming veterinary surgeon. To quote the AVMA, "Veterinarians are members of a scholarly profession who have earned academic degrees from comprehensive universities or similar educational institutions." On their AVMATV webpage they have a logo that reads:
AVMA logo

Please note: this is a duplicate of another identical post. This post was made by some computer glitch! I have no idea what happened. Sorry if any confusion has or will be caused. I can't delete it as Google finds them both depending on the search terms.


Yes, I agree. It is a lot more than we think. In respect of declawing of cats it is criminal behavior dressed up as a professional health service. There is little doubt that it is a crime under animal cruelty laws but no one is every prosecuted. It is also a lot more than the vets think because a lot of them as mentioned seem to be in denial at what they are doing. This denial is a creation of years and years of subtle psychology that the vets and organisers of the AVMA have practiced on themselves and employees of veterinary surgeries. Even the name of the procedure is a deception: "declawing", when it is, in fact, the removal of the tips of all the fingers of cat. New laser surgery is probably sold as being "almost painless" with "quick recovery times". "Your cat will up on his feet in no time" the cosy vet says. Always denying that the whole thing is quite unnecessary and shockingly cruel from the patient's point of view. I sometimes wonder if the vet thinks the patient, is the client. The client being the person who comes in and says, "I need a declaw, I can pop in next Tuesday". Vet's answer, "That's fine Mrs Doe, have a nice day..."

The language of the veterinary surgeon is designed to disengage the veterinarian and the staff from what is a grievous assault on an innocent animal that looks to us and depends on us for its care and wellbeing. The procedure is described as follows:
"The claw is extended by pushing up under the footpad or by grasping it with Allis tissue forceps. A scalpel blade is used to sharply dissect between the second and third phalanx over the top of the ungual crest. The distal interphalangeal joint is disarticulated, and the deep digital flexor tendon is incised. . . . Both techniques effectively remove the entire third phalanx" [this means the amputation of the distal phalanx or part of the toe]
In plain language this procedure is:
The removal, with a knife, of the top joint from all the toes of the cat.
The language of denial and disengagement does not stop there. It is everywhere in the American Veterinarian's literature. Take the AVMA Policy on Declawing Cats. The following heads the page on the AVMA website:
Declawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively or when its clawing presents a zoonotic risk for its owner(s) {revised 04/2009}
This clause, as I said is the header clause and the clause that underpins the whole policy actively encourages declawing when it should do the opposite. It is an attempt to ease the guilt of the AVMA by pretending that they have a policy on declawing. These are my concerns with this defective clause:

The first sentence of the clause says that if a cat (for example) damages a piece of furniture and the owner can't stop it happening, the cat can then be declawed. That is what it says. If the owner comes to a vet and says, "Mr Vet, I've tried to stop my cat scratching my new furniture but it hasn't worked, please declaw him". The vet can under this AVMA policy on declawing cats, say, "Yes, fine". It is an open invitation to cat owners who do not know better to get their way against the interests of the cat. When people adopt a cat, they know there will be some damage. So, declawing will be on the cards before the cat gets home. It is nothing less than an open invitation to declaw. It should be a barrier. In fact, it blatantly contradicts the veterinarian's oath and principles of ethics of the AVMA on the same website (see my posting on this: American Vets are Unethical Towards the Cat), which states, "Veterinarians should first consider the needs of the patient....". The AVMA policy on declawing pursuant to this statement considers first the client (the cat's owner).

As to the second sentence this refers to the transmission of disease from cat to human (zoonotic diseases). All cats present this risk but it is an extremely tiny risk. So under the AVMA policy on declawing cats all and any cat can be declawed. Once again it presents an open door to an assault on the cat. If people are worried about their furniture or the extremely rare risk of contracting a zoonotic disease they should not keep cats. We should not customise the anatomy of cats. We do not customise children beause they bring colds back from school or damage the furniture. A further point; a cat's teeth can transmit zoonotic disease: Declawing, why not detoothing as well?

Another, perhaps overlooked, point about the above clause is that is refers to, "domestic cats". It is clearly open season on tame wild cats and there are many Servals, for instance, that are automatically declawed because they are a big cat. Some escape their unsuitable conditions and are killed because they have no defense. See Serval Cat Escapes.

If this leading clause were to be written in compliance with the American Veterinary Medical Associations code of ethics it might read like this:
"Declawing of all cats must not be carried out unless it is under the most serious and unlikiest of conditions and where it is exclusively in the best interests of the cat's health and wellbeing. It is considered by the board of the AVMA that these circumstances will only very rarely apply. The reasons for carrying out the operation must comply with the veterinarian's oath and principles of ethics.
That clause is in the best interests of the patient. As I mention on the Americans are Unethical Towards the Cat posting, the reason why the AVMA has drafted such an open clause is to present to the world "concern" while actually promoting declawing. The clause contains "weasel words". These are words or phrases that are intended to say one thing while the true intention is to do or promote something else. Politicans use them frequently.

The AVMA policy on declawing cats is an example of American short-term thinking. I mean policies that seek to create immediate benefit at any cost while disregarding the future consequences. It is a reflection of the consumer society. However, far greater financial benefit would be accrued in the long term if a truly ethical approach was adopted by the AVMA as it would encourage people to see a vet who currently resist because of cost and distrust. It would also mean that cats were treated earlier. Many cats are probably suffering indirectly through the AVMA's policy as people stay away from veterinarian's surgeries.

The AVMA policy on declawing cats should be redrafted and while that was happening the code of ethics should be properly policed as numerous vets in its association are flagrantly in breach of its policies (see this website for example: The Declaw Hall of Shame). The AVMA must lead in the interests of the cat and all animals as that is the underlying reason for its existence.


Please Note: I like America and Americans but strongly dislike the acceptance by many Americans of the declawing of cats.

Update: I have been reliably told that the AVMA has no authority over the veterinarians in their association. Can this be true? And if so what it the point of the AVMA? How are rogue vets dealt with?


AVMA Policy on Declawing Cats

The AVMA Policy on Declawing Cats is shameful and deplorable. It is criminality transformed into normality through deep seated denial and deceit. It is made all the worse by the fact that this association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, profess to uphold the highest standards of professional behavior. The criminality is perpetrated by the pillars of American society, the ever reliable, homely and charming veterinary surgeon. To quote the AVMA, "Veterinarians are members of a scholarly profession who have earned academic degrees from comprehensive universities or similar educational institutions." On their AVMATV webpage they have a logo that reads:
AVMA logo
Yes, I agree. It is a lot more than we think. In respect of declawing of cats it is criminal behavior dressed up as a professional health service. It is also a lot more than you (the vets) think because a lot of them, as mentioned, seem to be in denial at what they are doing. This denial is a creation of years and years of subtle psychology that the vets and organisers of the AVMA have practiced on themselves and employees of veterinary surgeries. Even the name of the procedure is a deception: "declawing", when it is, in fact, the removal of the tips of all the fingers of the cat (usually the front). New laser surgery is probably sold as being "almost painless" with "quick recovery times". "Your cat will be up on his feet in no time" the cosy vet says. Always denying that the whole thing is quite unnecessary (when done for the usual non-therapeutic reasons) and shockingly cruel from the patient's point of view. I sometimes wonder if the vet thinks the patient is the client. The client being the person who comes in and says, "I need a declaw, I can pop in next Tuesday". Vet's answer, "That's fine Mrs Doe, have a nice day..."


See an umbrella page on cat declawing where there are more links etc.: Declawing Cats

The language of the veterinary surgeon is designed to disengage the veterinarian and the staff from what is a grievous assault on an innocent animal that looks to us and depends on us for its care and well being. The procedure is described as follows:
"The claw is extended by pushing up under the footpad or by grasping it with Allis tissue forceps. A scalpel blade is used to sharply dissect between the second and third phalanx over the top of the ungual crest. The distal interphalangeal joint is disarticulated, and the deep digital flexor tendon is incised.. . . Both techniques effectively remove the entire third phalanx" [this means the amputation of the distal phalanx or part of the toe]
In plain language this procedure is:
The removal, with a knife, of the top joint from all the toes of the cat.
The language of denial and disengagement does not stop there. It is everywhere in the American Veterinarian's literature. Take the AVMA Policy on Declawing Cats. The following heads the page on the AVMA website:
Declawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively or when its clawing presents a zoonotic risk for its owner(s) {revised 04/2009}
This clause, as I said is the header clause and the clause that underpines the whole policy actively encourages declawing when it should do the opposite. It is an attempt to ease the guilt of the AVMA by pretending that they have a policy on declawing. These are my concerns with this defective clause:

The first sentence of the clause says that if a cat, for exampe, damages a piece of furniture and the owner can't stop it, the cat can be declawed. If the owner comes to a vet and says, "Mr Vet, I've tried to stop my cat scratching my new furniture but it hasn't worked, please declaw him". The vet can under this AVMA policy on declawing cats, say, "Yes, fine". It is an open invitation to cat owners who do not know better to get their way against the interests of the cat. When people adopt a cat they know there will be some damage. So declawing will be on the cards before the cat gets home. It is nothing less than an open invitation to declaw. It should be a barrier. In fact it blatantly contradicts the veterinarian's oath and principles of ethics of the AVMA on the same website (see my posting on this: American Vets are Unethical Towards the Cat), which states, "Veterinarians should first consider the needs of the patient....". The AVMA policy on declawing persuant to this statment considers first the client (the cat's owner).

As to the second sentence this refers to the transmission of disease from cat to human (zoonotic diseases). All cats present this exceptionally slight risk. But once again it opens the door wide to mutilation because under the AVMA policy on declawing cats all and any cat can be declawed. Once again it presents an open door to an assault on the cat. If people are worried about their furniture or the extremely rare risk of contracting a zoonotic disease they should not keep cats. We should not customise the anatomy of cats. We do not customise children beause they bring colds back from school or damage the furniture. A further point; a cat's teeth can transmit zoonotic disease: Declawing, why not detoothing as well?

Another, perhaps overlooked, point about the above clause is that is refers to, "domestic cats". It is clearly open season on tame wild cats and there are many Servals, for instance, that are automatically declawed because they are a big cat. Some escape their unsuitable conditions and are killed because they have no defense. See Serval Cat Escapes.

If this leading clause were to be written in compliance with the American Veterinary Medical Associations code of ethics it might read like this:
"Declawing of all cats must not be carried out unless it is under the most serious and unlikiest of conditions and where it is exclusively in the best interests of the cat's health and wellbeing. It is considered by the board of the AVMA that these circumstances will only very rarely apply. The reasons for carrying out the operation must comply with the veterinarian's oath and principles of ethics.
That clause is in the best interests of the patient. As I mention on the Americans are Unethical Towards the Cat posting, the reason why the AVMA has drafted such an open clause is to present to the world "concern" while actually promoting declawing. The clause contains "weasel words". These are words or phrases that are intended to say one thing while the true intention is to do or promote something else. Politicans use them frequently.

The AVMA policy on declawing cats is an example of American short term thinking. I mean policies that seek to create immediate benefit at any cost while disregarding the future consequences. It is a reflection of the consumer society. However, far greater financial benefit would be accrued in the long term if a truly ethical approach was adopted by the AVMA as it would encourage people to see a vet who currently resist seeing a vet because of the cost and distrust. It would also mean that cats were treated earlier. Many cats are probably suffering indirectly through the AVMA's policy as people stay away from veterinarian's surgeries to avoid getting into the clutches of a financially greedy vet and any veterianrian who declaws cats for non-therapeutic reasons is greedy.

The AVMA policy on declawing cats should be redrafted and while that was happening the code of ethics should be properly policed as numerous vets in its association are flagrantly in breach of its policies (see this website for example: The Declaw Hall of Shame). The AVMA must lead in the interests of the cat and all animals as that is the underlying reason for its existence. It is time that the AVMA served the interests of the cat not their wallet nor the callous cat owner requesting declawing.



Further valuable reading.

Saturday 11 July 2009

Cat Rescue Groups

As at the date of this posting, the continuing economic depression has hurt the domestic cat (and, incidentally, the wildcat). This can be gauged by the reactions of the cat rescue groups. This is an updating post on what is happening on the ground during the recession which is bottoming out at the time of the post.

Texas Maine Coon Cat Rescue

I am a friend of one of the organisers of Texas Maine Coon Cat rescue, Christie Montgomery. Pictures of Cats org has donated to the charity, a genuine no-kill cat rescue. This is what Christie says about the recession (this rescue organisation rescues all breeds and moggies by the way):

Unfortunately Michael, the economy has wreaked havoc on all rescues. It is a huge factor. Our rescue group normally does not rescue kittens because they always find homes. We have had to take in 19 kittens & their Moms in the last couple weeks to relieve our overwhelmed shelter. They needed cage space so they would not have to euthanize.

We are a non-kill rescue group. I volunteer time & medicine & pull cats from two local shelters & have never seen them so full. Today, I was contacted by a shelter in IN. & one in TN. for help; I am in TX. The other factor are the "owner surrenders". They have tripled. I cannot keep up with the e-mails & phone calls with requests for help with their pets. We also receive calls asking us to take cats thrown outside when their owners have moved or become homeless.

Our group receives recommendations for people to contact us from Vets, shelters, other rescue groups, etc. This situation is frustrating & very depressing realizing we cannot help them all. We do what we can as is everyone else.

Our shelter workers are trained to ask why someone is surrendering their pet. However, beyond that, they cannot ask if they have cut expenses or anything else to try to keep their pet. For the most part it is people who have lost their job & sometimes their home. Some have children. Some are moving where they cannot take a pet. This is the worst I have seen rescue in quite a few years.

Christie is highly committed and finds a way to make things work, however, Here is a series or reports from around the country in the USA :

rescue cat

Canyon County Pet Haven,

This animal shelter in Nampa, Idaho, USA, is full to capacity because of the economy and what they call the “kitten season” (they refer to the fact that at this time of year there is a rise in the number of new kittens – this must mean unneutered cats left to mate without any controls from people).

It also seems that for this shelter the rise in the number of cats that are at the rescue centre is because of a failure to adopt because of the economic conditions. The shelter is at 4 times its capacity at 280 animals.

Volunteer Humane Society

This is based in Lancaster, Massachusetts, USA and is in its 35th year, well done.

,

According to a story in the Wicked Local (wickedlocal.com/bedford) there has been an increase from 18-20 calls per week in past years to 30-40 per week currently (see chart). Although in 2008 there was a decrease from the years 2006 and 2007.

The shelter says there is better networking between shelters than previously.

Mid Michigan Cat Rescue

According to the website rallytorescue.org, Sarah Vicary of the Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue (new window) in Grand Ledged says that . “….the poor economy triggered a 25 percent decline in cat adoptions over the last year.”

Marin Humane Society

This rescue organisation has a slightly different story to tell. This may be because it is bigger and in a recession, like all businesses the bigger and better known organisations fair better or in this case it may be due to Marin County being an affluent area leading to better funding. In any case they have opened a new centre to accommodate a growing demand for adoptions has not been upset by the economy. Although the spokeswoman Carrie Harrington acknowledged the effects of the economy.

Like other shelters that take cats from other rescue organisations. This may account in part for the rise in adoptions. It would seem that this society are better funded than most as mentioned allowing them to grow with and absorb the increased number of rescue cats.

Location of Marin Humane Society

Conclusion?

There is no doubt that the weak economy has impacted the majority of rescue organisations. There would seem to be a greater number of cats needing rescuing and a lower take up of adoptions plus less funding but it is not all bad news. The rescue organisations find ways to manage. This is through commitment. Rescue people are highly committed.

Cat Rescue Groups - Photo of rescued kitten: Photographer (by Roy Montgomery) says that a litter of kittens were rescued by her daughter from under a trailer with severe mange and fleas. They all recovered and were adopted by a no-kill shelter. Fantastic. Published under Attribution 2.0 Generic creative commons license.

Friday 10 July 2009

Beverly Hills Can Lead on Feral Cat Problem

The Beverly Hills Council can lead on the feral cat problem by showing an enlightened and humane approach in dealing with its feral cats. This ray of light and opportunity has come out of a misguided criminal prosecution by them against a decent and caring lady who was, in effect, doing Council’s work for them for free and against the ill-conceived objections of some unenlightened local people. She was being criminalised for allegedly feeding feral cats.

The matter concerns the now well know Katherine Varjian, 65, who has been feeding, trapping and neutering feral cats behind the 100-200 blocks of Palm, Maple and Oakhurst Drives in Beverly Hills.

Map picture

She was prosecuted for feeding feral cats under an ordinance (5-2-104, subdivision B and C) that the Council inadvertently deleted mid-prosecution, it seems, after the City adopted Los Angeles’ ordinance. That mistake (was it a mistake) presented the opportunity to air the whole thing.

It presented the opportunity for the majority of people to demonstrate that they are against this now deleted ordinance. That the City’s desire to reinstate the ordinance is wrong and that the wider issues should be dealt with at Council level. In short a time has come when Beverly Hills can lead on the feral cat problem in recognising that it is pointless and immoral to prosecute a good lady who is doing their work and that feral cats exist because of the irresponsible behaviour of people. Why then punish and euthanize the cat who is only trying to survive in a hostile world created by people?

As I read the situation the prosecution is on hold while the Council work with local cat rescue experts to devise a proper plan that works with the community including the people who have complained about Katherine Varjian. We can all understand their complaint. For some people feral cats are just vermin and part of the TNR process is feeding the cats. Opponents to Katherine Varjian’s work say that this attracts coyotes and other animals perceived by some as pests. This, in turn, is a public health issue. On the face of it these are fair arguments but they are misguided and don’t address the wider and far more important issues.

And it is now becoming clear that there is a need to address the wider issue. To stand back and think much more widely and accept that we need to live in harmony with the feral cat while dealing with it in a humane manner; not to wage war on it. In Australia they have a kind of phobia about the feral cat and allow it to be shot on sight in New South Wales (imagine that!). Killing feral cats doesn’t solve the “feral cat problem”. It is generally accepted, despite the time and effort (and cost) involved that trap, neuter and return (TNR) is the best method for both parties (human and cat).

Let us see whether Beverly Hills can lead on the feral cat problem and create ordinances that incorporates TNR into the legal framework of the city. This might lay down a marker for others to follow. And if that happened the Council members could be proud that they did the right thing. The Katherine Varjian case is a crystallisation of the polarized and disjointed approach of local authorities and legislators to this ongoing problem. The issues are in fact even wider than dealing with feral cats as these animals are the product of our behaviour.

The wider issue is us and how we behave. A huge thanks should go to Tina Varjian, Katherine’s daughter who is fighting the good fight. And this is a ultimately a battle between good and bad, right and wrong. Doing the right thing is harder and more expensive but it must be done. One last point: the criminal prosecution of Katherine Varjian should not proceed both on the basis that law under which is was brought does not exist and for the reason that it is not in the public’s interest.

Thursday 9 July 2009

Cat Owners Rely on their Veterinarian

You know, I don’t think that cat owners can rely on their veterinarian all the time and on every cat health problem. And we should be able to. And I am talking about American veterinarians primarily but similar principles apply to other countries.

veterinarian office

I think that the problem of not being able to totally rely on on our vet in America is because money, the making of it, is more of a concern for vets in America than in other countries. That is based on the fact that America is the richest nation, has a vast amount of debt and is heavily consumer orientated.

And the making of money is the biggest compromiser of all. It creates a massive conflict of interest that invariably colours sound judgment that should be wholly focused on one thing: what is best for the cat. Not what is best for the cat and does that make enough money for me.

If all veterinarians were paid by the state on a flat fee basis (a utopian situation possibly) treatment would be better – or would it?. The making of money colours judgments. This is compounded by the fact that cats cannot voice their own opinions. They have no opinions. But they do feel their illness. They are dependent ultimately on the standard of care provided by their “owner” in consultation with their veterinarian who as I have said cannot always be relied upon to provide objective advice.

I make this rather provocative statement on the basis of two areas of treatment, namely cat declawing and cat vaccinations. Both are wonderful sources of revenue for veterinarians in the United States. I think it is fair to say that there is a massively excessive amount of declawing of cats in the USA all of which is in flagrant violation of the ethical principles of a veterinarian and of his oath. I discuss this in detail on this page: American Vets are Unethical Towards the Cat (new window). I also feel that the act of declawing and the large number of full-time indoor cat in the USA are linked. Each follows the other. Indoor cats have more opportunity to destroy furniture and declawing allows cats to be full-time indoor cats. The percentage of indoor cats and declawed of cats is by far the highest in America.

There is the other bread and butter treatment so well exploited by some (not all of course, please note) veterinarians, namely cat vaccinations. The situation regarding vaccinations in confusing for cat owners. It shouldn’t be. It is confusing because a large number of vets recommend or perhaps sometimes insist that people bring in their cat for that routine yearly booster shot. It becomes a way of life. We, the public start thinking that it is normal. We do it for our cat despite the cost. But, wait a minute! When did people have yearly booster vaccinations? Never. There should be no reason why, in my opinion, cats should be different.

It seems that the veterinary associations are slow to produce recommendations that undermine the income of their members. That is understandable but if the procedure is carried out unnecessarily, it is carried out more frequently and the risk of a negative side effect from the vaccination is increased. I would argue that an increased risk of say cancer from a vaccination injection without benefit is an assault on the cat, a breach of the veterinarians oath and a violation of the code of ethics as laid down by the vets governing association. In some countries it could be a crime. Certainly declawing a cat is a crime in the UK and it has happened 20 million times in the USA. That would put a hell of a lot of vets in prison!

So, what am I saying? If veterinarians can make subjectively based medical judgements biased by financial profit they cannot be seen to be reliable. So, I don’t think cat owners can rely in their veterinarian. See also Cat Vaccination Recommendations (new window) for further reading.

From Cat Owners Rely on their Veterinarian to Cat Health Problems

Wednesday 8 July 2009

American Vets are Unethical Towards the Cat

I am convinced that a large number (not all, please note) of American vets are unethical towards the cat and as a consequence they are in breach of the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics of the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) and their oath, if they are members of that association.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), established in 1863, is a not-for-profit association representing more than 78,000 veterinarians….
The veterinarian’s oath under the AVMA is:
Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.
I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.
I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.
Selected clause of the AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics:
PROFESSIONAL BEHAVIOR
  1. Veterinarians should first consider the needs of the patient: to relieve disease, suffering, or disability while minimizing pain or fear. (comment: this is a basic principle and is right at the top of the document. It goes to the core of everything the vet does in his or her practice. The patient is the cat in this instance)
American vets are unethical towards the cat - Please Note: I have reproduced the above verbatim for accuracy and I justify this under fair use as they are extracts of a large document and it is in the public’s interest and the companion cat’s interest to have this discussion.
American vets are unethical towards the cat – Note: If anyone wants to use this article and is brave enough to do so! - I hereby license its use under creative commons. Please place this near the article if reusing it (including the links):

Creative Commons License
American Vets are Unethical Towards the Cat by Michael is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. It is based on work of my own. The license applies world wide.


Also Please Note: I like America and Americans but strongly dislike the culture of declawing. It is not found anywhere else. Everything that I say or do in relation to the cat is on the basis of treating the cat as I would a person, with respect. Declawing is highly disrepectful of our cat companions.


Accusing a vet of being unethical is strong language, I know, but declawing cats on the whim of a cat “owner” who wants to protect furniture is an assault on the cat. Under these particular circumstances, it is deliberately inflicting a physical and possibly psychological injury on the cat. It is detrimental to the cat, a violation of a vet’s oath and a violation of the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics.

In fact, the president of the AVMA seems to agree with me! If that it the case what are they doing about it? The rules should be enforced more strictly and tightened up. She wants the law to prevent it when she can prevent it in changing the code of conduct of veterinarians.


In the UK a vet doing that on a consistent basis would, in my view be struck off and prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. He or she would probably be convicted and punished to a jail term not exceeding 51 weeks and/or a fine not exceeding £20,000 ($32,302 USD). His career would be ruined.

Yet in the United States of America, where they are proud to uphold basic human rights (but not the rights of cats, it seems) highly qualified and intelligent veterinarians have criminally assaulted, by European standards, at least 20 million cats. As there is almost no declawing in the UK, despite being allowed on medical grounds, I can only presume that 99.9% of that 20m are for the personal reasons of the person keeping the cat or the landlord renting out his flats (apartments).

American vets are unethical towards the cat – Note: I realise that some people use the argument that declawing saves the lives of cats as it means they can be kept by people living in apartments where the lease forbids it. I don’t go along with that argument. These people should not keep cats at all if the lease forbids it or seek a lease that does etc. It is this kind of self serving mentality that results in unwanted rescue cats that are put down in the millions in the USA.

If it is to be done appropriately the operation to declaw a cat should cost about 600 dollars but may increase up to 800 dollars if done using lasers, but it is worth it, says a well known vet tech (Asker) who contributes to Yahoo Answers. There is also a lot of pain treatment after the operation and “arthritis develops early in these cats and life long supplementation helps keep them comfortable and less stressed” (Asker – vet tech). This all equates to big money (total: $12,000,000,000 (USD) at today’s prices – I think this is 12 billion US dollars) for vets and it is money that drives some vets (a far too large a percentage, I allege) to carry out this operation in defiance of their code of conduct and their oath and also against the best interests of the cat (but in the interests of an ill advised human client).
There is an acute conflict of interest in the US veterinary profession: money –v- ethics. In the USA and elsewhere vets have, over recent years, strived to be treated as the equal of doctors. They started to call themselves doctors. This is a newish concept. If they want the status of doctors they should act like doctors and treat cats in the same way doctors treat people. Cats have no voice and cannot decide for themselves. That places a greater responsibility on the vet towards the cat. And it also places a great responsibility on the vet to explain all the facts to the person who keeps the cat. What the vet says to the cat keeper is the make or break moment as to whether the operation takes place or not. The cat keeper is in the hands of the vet at that moment. The vets words are critical and must comply with the ethical principles and oath.

Only on rare medical grounds should the operation be carried out. You know, there is quite a lot of denial in the veterinarian profession about cat declawing. There is a kind of manipulative management going on in some vet’s practices (I allege) that coerces vet techs and other employees to participate in the process of cat declawing against their better judgment (see the Psychology of Declawing).

The form below is, by the way, completely confidential. I have no idea who is voting. You can see the spreadsheet that stores the votes here: Results


In the UK (a country that is culturally close to and similar to the USA), the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which criminalises cat declawing, made no difference to the act of declawing because it simply hardly ever happened before. It is just not part of the culture and I think this comes to a very large part from the veterinarians. It can’t be the case that British people are more ethical generally that American people. It comes down to being trained and guided by the “experts” (the vets). In many ways they guide us in respect of how to treat our cats and they indirectly police us and dictate how we treat our cats.
“The procedure was considered cruel by almost all British vets, who refused to perform it except on medical grounds. The Guide to Professional Conduct of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons stated that declawing was "only acceptable where, in the opinion of the veterinary surgeon, injury to the animal is likely to occur during normal activity. It is not acceptable if carried out for the convenience of the owner ... the removal of claws, particularly those which are weight bearing, to preclude damage to furnishings is not acceptable."…(Wikipedia author)
As can been seen, the code of practice of vets in the UK is very explicit on this subject. What is happening in the United States? It would seem to me that the American Veterinary Medical Association, which is no doubt run by veterinarians is complicit in this cruelty and in fact condone it (as I understand it they permit it when there is destructive use of claws - this will always happen so it is a full approval but using what I call "weasel" words, words dressed up to sound like the veterinarian is doing the operation for a good reason) . In fact they must allow it as otherwise they would have taken steps to better manage what is a blot on the profession in the United States.

The surgery is basically an American “thing”. And it is an American thing because Americans are very driven by financial profit. It is why they are the richest nation in the world. What has happened is that self interest has got the better of American vets. But as mentioned their actions have, over time, coloured and altered the culture and opinions of a large number of ordinary Americans into believing that declawing is alright and acceptable when it clearly is not as it is in breach of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s code of conduct (when carried out for the personal and non-medical reasons of the cat keeper). That said, incidentally, polls in America (e.g. Petplace.com) strongly indicate that the majority of people are against declawing of cats.

It is considered inhumane and is illegal in many countries: England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Portugal, Belgium, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Yugoslavia and Japan (src: Yahoo answers).

America is out of step with the world on declawing and it is in the hands of the directors and managers of the veterinarian associations to change an entirely distorted culture that is deeply ingrained in a substantial percentage of the American people.
American vets are unethical towards the cat - See also:
Michael Avatar

Update: Babz made a comment and left a link for a petition. This is the link: Declawing Petition (new page).

From American vets are unethical towards the cat to Home Page

Monday 6 July 2009

National Tiger Conservation Authority

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has a website that is entitled Project Tiger (new page). The reason why I visited it was because I noticed a press release (not from the NTCA website) that said a drastic change in method was to be employed by the NTCA in its management of 11 tiger reserves of India. All the reserves combined cover an area of 37,761 Km².

The embarrassment of losing all the tigers of the most prestigious reserve at Sariska-Panna to poaching (this is now more or less accepted as being the cause of the loss) and the further embarrassment of introducing breeding tigers that are related (this is yet to be confirmed for one of the tigers, a male, but it looks likely) and which are unfit for breeding has caused what is being described as a knee jerk reaction in deciding to coral the remaining tigers in 11 reserves to protect them and force them to breed.

As few as 5-15 tigers are in each of these reserves. This seems an impossibly low figure. How do they prevent inbreeding with resultant genetic defects and poor sperm quality? (See cat inbreeding means poor sperm quality). I guess they ship fresh stock in but it with such low populations in all these reserves is this viable.

The plan was forced on the National Tiger Conservation Authority. But it seems to me, a layperson, that at a certain point in time the cause is almost lost and that moment would seem to be fast approaching.

The press release page on the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s website is dated August 5th 2005. No that is not a typo. It is 2005 almost 4 years ago. Not much happening then! I was expecting to see a press release about this latest project but nothing on the website. The news came from timesofindia.indiatimes.com.

A toxic mix of the following is admitted on the NTCA website to be causing tiger losses:

  • human population growth
  • poor management – Sariska: breakdown in internal park management and a faulty system to count the tigers! And breakdown in the relationship between villagers on the reserve and management of the reserve.
  • habitat destruction on the reserves - mining
  • no or little protection for the tiger
  • despite CITES classification tigers are poached almost to order it seems, with some people thinking the wardens are involved. Tiger bone gets a mention on the website. As at 2003 (I believe) trade in tiger body parts was increasing particularly bones. The price: 10 grams for US$ 24.5 at the China/Vietnam border. The NTCA site says that trade in tiger body parts was permitted in Japan until 4-2000. They admit to difficulties in controlling illicit trade. This can probably be translated to mean very little enforcement of CITES exists.
  • a lack of vigour in relocating people on the reserves to avoid human/tiger conflict. Over 30 years, only 80+ villages have been relocated from all the 28 reserves. 1,500 remain inside the reserves and 250 of them are in core areas of tiger reserves.
  • tiger persecuted on a number of levels

Really, I am sorry to say that the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s website looks as lifeless as the body of the poached tigers. I suspect very little or nothing has happened on the site for years. Even large parts of the navigation bar do not work. This is indicative of the general malaise surrounding the management of the Bengal tiger I feel and I am sorry to sound critical but it is so sad and depressing.

The website should be much more active. If someone asked me I’d do the work!! – for free, of course.

From National Tiger Conservation Authority to Wild Cat Species

See also Bengal tiger facts

Chihuahuas vs Cougar Story is Pathetic

This is a story of small dogs frightening off a cougar in Los Angeles. The video is below.

The shame of the Chihuahuas vs Cougar story, though. People are pathetic! This story has thrown up a ton of idiotic comment. First, however, I do not see anyone other than one website mention the fact that this cougar was shot after this event, which has caused laughter and hilarity! First, they shot three tranquillisers into the cat then they shot it.

“Authorities confirm officers with the Department of Fish and Game were forced to shoot and kill the animal. They had hoped to return it to the wild.” (src: http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-garage-cougar,0,224308.story) new page – link provided in thanks for verbatim quote.

Shot, after this poor cat was frightened off by three tiny dogs! What the hell are Americans doing? Why are people we so frightened of this cat! Americans are far too trigger happy. Is it because they thought the cat was rabid (had caught rabies)? There is no evidence of that as far as I can tell.

The event took place in Los Angeles, California, I believe. It is the only state where cougar hunting is banned. And to compound the sorry state of this story there is a horrible hunting website (fieldandstream.com) that makes gross misrepresentations about the cougar. They would do this because they are into killing this animal. They like killing beautiful animals, I guess.

First they refer to “California's cougar troubles”. What the heck are those? It is you who are the trouble and people like you. They then make a gross misrepresentation and say that the “California's mountain lion population immediately began dining on said voters.” (meaning that the people who voted for a ban on hunting the cougar are now being attacked and killed by the cougar after the ban).

There have been 14 attacks (few resulting in death) on people (mainly unsupervised children) in 117 years in California! - see Mountain Lion Attacks in California for full details). The car kills many thousands of times more (people are 2,000 times more likely to be killed by a car). The domestic dog kills many many more (10 times more likely). The deer kills many more. And yet this idiotic web site author says this. Total bias and totally wrong morally and ethically. I suppose, though, it is to be expected of the hunting and shooting lobby. If you like to shoot innocent animals for pleasure you have got to be the type who behaves like this.

And you might know, a lot of people in America (not all, please note) are far more interested in the older women called a “cougar” than the cat called a cougar. On researching this I would say that out of 100 people searching for information about the cougar on the internet, 85 are searching for the cougar women, 17 are searching for the cougar car and the remainder are searching for the cougar cat (src: keyword search using SBI).

This pretty much explains all of the cougar “problems” from the cougar’s standpoint. A lot of people in America (not all, of course but it seems the majority) generally just don’t care and are more interested in sex, consumerism and food. They are chasing pleasure and getting into debt and missing the real things.


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