Although declawing of domestic cats has never been on the agenda in the UK (even before the recent introduction of the Animal Welfare Act 2006), the declawing of wildcats in zoos in the UK seems to have been carried out on occasion.
I am referring to the declawing of lions and tigers at a British big cat sanctuary, Kamo's Zion Wildlife Gardens. This happened some time ago now; sometime, in fact, between 2000 and 2008. The person in charge of the park during that time was Craig Busch. It seems that he was responsible for ordering the declawing operations.
The declawing resulted in two lions being injured because they could not grip on slippery surfaces and in England in the winter there will be a lot of slippery surfaces. These lions had fallen off boxes onto hard surfaced it appears.
Also the declawing operation had left some cats in obvious discomfort - their gait was incorrect putting strain in other parts of their body - and the others, although looking OK, were assessed as being at risk of developing potential problems in the future due to the declawing.
The park was seeking funds to get the well known American vet Dr Jennifer Conrad to do the six hour corrective surgery. Obviously you can't put the claws back on but you can repair damage done during the declaw operation. The repair work should leave the big cats better able to walk and grip properly.
This little story highlights two things: declawing happened in the UK and it causes unforeseen health problems. Craig Busch should be ashamed of himself.
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