New York State Veterinarians Support Ban on Cat Declawing

Formerly, veterinarians were opposed to the banning of a service they profited from.  Now there seems to be a shift in some veterinary circles.  Question for our readers:  If the cat owner wants the service and is prepared to pay for it, should it be illegal?  Healthy public debate is advantageous.  Presently, it is legal to declaw your cat in each and every one of the 50 states.  Read this press release below about the bill.

 

A bill that would make New York the first state in the nation to ban cat declawing, A.1297/ S.5084, is being championed by 115 veterinarians from across the state.

Veterinary support for the bill is being organized by The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and The Paw Project.

Eileen Jefferson, DVM, New York state representative for HSVMA, said: “Declawing involves painful amputations – cutting off the last bone of a cat’s digits. When done for convenience, it is medically and ethically unjustifiable. The research consensus is that at least one in five cats show long-term physical or behavioral problems after being declawed.”

According to HSVMA and The Paw Project, these problems include litter box avoidance from pain or stress and increased biting in self-defense. These two problems, not furniture destruction, are the documented top behavioral reasons why cats are brought to U.S. shelters. 

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, D-67, introduced the bill last year. It later gained bipartisan support from co-sponsor Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47.

Assemblymember Rosenthal said: “Because of their behavioral issues, declawed cats are not as likely to be adopted as other cats. I introduced this bill to end the misery inflicted on cats when there are many safe and effective alternatives to declawing.”

Sen. Griffo said: “This bill benefits not only cats, but veterinarians, cat owners, and shelters as well. I’m pleased to be working with experts on public health and animal health to get it passed.”

Susan Whittred, DVM, New York co-director for The Paw Project, said: “A relatively high percentage of cats are still being declawed despite all the recommendations against it. Targeting this problem through legislation is necessary and overdue. This bill is not an infringement on the veterinarian’s role at all. In fact, veterinarians are helping lead the efforts to see it pass.”

Declawing is currently illegal in more than two dozen countries and several California cities.

The American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners have changed their statements in the last year to discourage declawing.

  • Shirley Swaine

    This is wonderful and most encouraging news. May I just say though, the grotesque practice of declawing is actually banned in over forty countries. It is banned, since 2006, in the whole of the European Union, which is 28 countries alone. Furthermore, in most of those countries (and definitely here in the UK) declawing has NEVER been practiced so the Act banning it was something of a technicality. As a country that has never declawed, I don’t think people stateside can truly appreciate the horror and disbelief of people here in the UK at learning what this mutilation involves, or the bewilderment we feel as to why anyone would ever consider doing this to their cat. I doubt any vet here would euthanize a cat for having scratched furniture (they’d insist the cat be surrendered to a shelter). Two of my cats were adopted from shelters (at different times) after extensive perusal of UK shelter sites and ‘destructiveness in the home’ was VERY rarely the reason a cat was surrendered, the main reasons being overwhelmingly a change in circumstances (death, divorce, house move to unsuitable area, illness, allergy etc)

    • disqus_efwVnveIQ9

      anyone have a link to the lists of vet who support or oppose the bill?

  • Gill Web

    Just because people “want something and are prepared to pay for it” that doesn’t make it right, normal or acceptable. Prostitution and drug abuse fit the above criteria, for example – but it doesn’t make them “good” things to accept.
    Declawing is mutilation – and very cruel too. It’s unnatural, mean, and nasty and only carried out for selfish and/or ignorant people who have no idea what is involved and what they are inflicting on a some poor innocent creature. If your furniture is more important to you than your pet – get a stuffed toy to sit on it instead….

    • Louise Paisley

      that is an incorrect analogy..

      prostitution and drug use are elective issues, people are free to chose to do those things or not.. Some could argue that some people are FORCED into them but the reality is that the vast majority chose to do them of thier own free will..

      A cat has no such choice, it is caged, taken to a butcher, put to sleep and has its fingers chopped off. I am absolutely 100% completely sure that should cats have the ability to chose not a single one of them would chose to have thier fingers amputated, and I am absolutely completely 100% sure that there is not a single parent of a human child out there that would opt to have thier childs fingers amputated because they scribbled all over the new furniture they bought..

      The simple truth is if you do not want an animal that has the ability to scratch or you don’t want the responsibility of teaching a cat to use a scratch post, then don’t get a bloody cat!

      • Gill Web

        Louise, I think we are on the same page. I was meaning that just because “Cat Owners” may “want something and are prepared to pay for it” then that in no way makes it right or even OK, on any level.
        I abhor declawing mutilation – I’m glad to live in the UK where it is illegal.

        • Louise Paisley

          Oh yes, we are on the same page, no doubt about it, absolutely..

          Just pointing out that the cats have no choice in the matter where prostitutes and druggies do..

          I am UK too, these days there is not that much that is Great about Great Britain but if all else fails we can at least say we have never done declawing even when it was technically legal to do so..

  • Gill Web

    Just because people “want something and are prepared to pay for it” that doesn’t make it right, normal or acceptable. Prostitution and drug abuse fit the above criteria, for example – but it doesn’t make them “good” things to accept.
    Declawing is mutilation – and very cruel too. It’s unnatural, mean, and nasty and only carried out for selfish and/or ignorant people who have no idea what is involved and what they are inflicting on a some poor innocent creature. If your furniture is more important to you than your pet – get a stuffed toy to sit on it instead….

    • Louise Paisley

      that is an incorrect analogy..

      prostitution and drug use are elective issues, people are free to chose to do those things or not.. Some could argue that some people are FORCED into them but the reality is that the vast majority chose to do them of thier own free will..

      A cat has no such choice, it is caged, taken to a butcher, put to sleep and has its fingers chopped off. I am absolutely 100% completely sure that should cats have the ability to chose not a single one of them would chose to have thier fingers amputated, and I am absolutely completely 100% sure that there is not a single parent of a human child out there that would opt to have thier childs fingers amputated because they scribbled all over the new furniture they bought..

      The simple truth is if you do not want an animal that has the ability to scratch or you don’t want the responsibility of teaching a cat to use a scratch post, then don’t get a bloody cat!

      • Gill Web

        Louise, I think we are on the same page. I was meaning that just because “Cat Owners” may “want something and are prepared to pay for it” then that in no way makes it right or even OK, on any level.
        I abhor declawing mutilation – I’m glad to live in the UK where it is illegal.

  • BufChester

    While I support this legislation (and would like to see it extended to ear cutting in dogs) I have to wonder how many DVMs there are in NYS and whether 115 is in any way a significant number.