Sunday 2 August 2009

AVMA Veterinarians Admit Declawing is Inhumane

AVMA Veterinarians Admit Declawing is Inhumane by implication. In a survey conducted some time ago (mid 1990s, it seems), domestic cat owners who had put their cats through declawing (onychectomy) or the procedure to stop the cat having use of its claws (tendonectomy), were asked questions after the operation. The purpose was to compare behavioral problems after the operation and the see what the owners thought of the operation. The survey sample was 18 cats that went through tendonectomy and 39 cats that had the tips of their toes removed (onychectomy). It was confirmed that the most common reason to put their cats through the operations was
"to avoid damage caused by the cat scratching household materials. Avoidance of injury to humans or animals was chosen more often by owners whose cats underwent onychectomy than those that underwent tendonectomy"
The fact that furniture is more important to these people than their cats shows how ridiculous the AVMA policy on declawing is and that declawing in the US is almost always done for non-therapeutic reasons (meaning for the benefit of the person not the cat). The policy states:
"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)."
It seems therefore that these people had tried to prevent their cats from scratching. The policy is drafted so widely that it is hopeless, worse it is a sham. Under the policy a person can try for a couple of minutes on two occasions and pass the test. The survey results say that,
"Significant differences were not detected regarding behavior problems after surgery......Although tendonectomy and onychectomy involved some medical complications and behavior changes following surgery"
This means that there were behavioral problems doesn't it? So much for the arguments by countless thousands of people who put their cats through this cruel procedure who say my cats fine after the operation. Vets admit that there are "some complications." Finally the report concludes (as this report is on the AVMA website):
"Tendonectomy may be a humane alternative to onychectomy...( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:43–47)"
So cutting pieces of tendon out of the cat (Tendonectomy) is a humane alternative to removing the tips of the toes (how bizarre is that by the way?). By implication this clearly states that declawing is inhumane. And as this is a survey published on the AVMA website, it is an open admission that their veterinarians are behaving in an inhumane way on a regular basis in defiance of common decency and against the interests of their patients.



  1. I really can't understand why declawing is still legal in America! If the AVMA are the governing body of Veterinarians why don't they ensure their policy of declawing only being done as a last resort is followed by USA vets !
    It seems like a free for all, unscrupulous vets can please themselves, no questions asked.Here in the UK they are answerable to the RCVS.What is the point of the AVMA if USA vets can get away with mutilating cats ?
    I can't fathom out how anyone trained to help animals, can do this cruel, un-neccessary procedure !

  2. How any veterinarian can condone declawing to save furniture is totally unacceptable. Veterinarians should, instead be educating their clients to use humane alternatives, or not have cats if their furniture is more important than a living, breathing animal.

    All declawing should be outlawed. Vets have taken an oath to "do no harm". They should be abiding by this oath.

  3. I can't see how tendonectomy is humane - it renders the claws vulnerable to be caught up in anything they touch. The pain a cat trying to rip its claw out of something it has caught it in, must be enormous. The twisting and tearing etc. There's also another weird anomaly of common sense going on with tendonectomy - the dumb owner wants their cat declawed, they can't be bothered to learn how to clip the claws themselves, so opt for a painful procedure that will ensure that the cat cannot maintain its claws itself, so they require clipping to avoid the claws growing into the paw pads!

    I hear the sound of logic being flushed down the toilet.
    - along with the integrity of every vet who offers onychectomy and tendonectomy.

  4. It is shocking how humankind got into the whole culture of declawing. It is so obviously wrong. And as you say it they are reliant on saying that tendonectomy is a humane alternative is shows how messed up the whole damn thing is. The vets know they are wrong but can't kiss the money goodbye.

    The vets are also out of step with modern life in which companion cats are recognised as a major part of the family whereas in the past they were simply animals. The culture of treating animals as lesser creatures still holds true in the poorer less well developed countries. America is well through that era but the abuse of cats as if from a bygone age is still with us.


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