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

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