The American Veterinary Workers Against Declawing Facebook community is fantastic. It is for American veterinary workers who are working in, or have worked in, the veterinary business. It is brave of people who currently work in the business to publicly fight against declawing. I admire them tremendously.
I particularly like the concept of people inside the business working for a better service for cats. Vets have to admit that the declawing process is not for the benefit of cats. It can't be, can it? So working to stop declawing is working towards a better service for cats.
I would hope that there will a gradual shift - and it will be gradual because declawing is an entrenched problem - towards a more enlightened attitude within the profession through the efforts of this Facebook community.
I find Facebook hard to navigate so I am unable to discover who started the community. Whoever she or he is deserves a big pat on the back and a cuddle! :)
If you have time please visit their Facebook page and click on their like button. The Facebook like button will take over our lives one day!
They have some excellent links to webpage on their Facebook page. One is The Future of the Veterinary Profession by Michael W. Fox, BVetMed, PhD, DSc, MRCVS on the website of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. I don't know how this association squares up with or is related to the AVMA. As far as I am aware, Michael Fox is a well known advocate for ethical veterinary behavior. I admire him.
He makes some very good points in his article. One is that he sees vets torn between the calling of a vet - to help animals - and the need to make a good living from working as a vet. In the desire to make money, which we cannot criticise the vet for, he or she drifts into areas that are opposed to his or her calling. Mr Fox says that these conflicting objectives can be reconciled. Of course he is correct. All the vets in Europe manage to resolve the problem so why can't American vets?
I don't think it is pure financial greed that leads American vets to declaw. It is partly a mentality that sees declawing as acceptable: humans can do what they like with animals because we are superior etc. that kind of argument.
Which brings me nicely to another point that Michael Fox makes. The interests of the human should not automatically be considered more important than those of the cat. A true respect for the cat would prevent declawing. I genuinely feel that it is time for the human to move on from what I consider unenlightened and old fashioned views about them and us, animals and humans. We are all together on the planet trying to survive and we are equal in that onerous task.
In declawing a cat a vet has three competing interests and motivators. The person who owns the cat requests or agrees to the operation. That person is seen as the client. If the cat was seen as the client and the person seen as the cat's guardian and not the owner, it would alter the relationship between cat and vet to the point where declawing would become impossible. The first two competing interests are then (1) what is right for the cat (2) what is right for the cat's guardian. These should not be competing because a guardian should have the interests of the cat at heart.
The third interest is that of the vet. He needs to make a living. He can do it just fine without declawing cats. He should be prepared to take the plunge and stop it. He would find new ways to raise revenue and in the long term he would see that he had a better life. He will certainly see that he will have no mental conflict between his calling, his original driving force and what he does now, mutilate cats against the welfare of the cat.
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