San Francisco may consider banning the declawing of cats based on a plea from an animal welfare advisory board to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.
Opponents of the ban, including the California Veterinary Medical Association, argue that the decision should be left to cat owners and their veterinarians.
However, San Francisco’s Commission of Animal Control and Welfare are on the other side of the debate with the opinion that declawing is cruel and should not be done for cosmetic reasons, i.e. keeping the couch in one piece.
What’s the big deal anyway, they’re just nails right? Well, not so much. Declawing isn’t a simple procedure that merely removes a cat’s nail. Rather, it involves a painful surgery that removes the last joint in a cat’s foot, to which the nail is attached.
According to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Professor of Behavioral Pharmacology and Director of the Behavior Clinic at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine:
“The inhumanity of the procedure is clearly demonstrated by the nature of cats’ recovery from anesthesia following the surgery. Unlike routine recoveries, including recovery from neutering surgeries, which are fairly peaceful, declawing surgery results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain. Cats that are more stoic huddle in the corner of the recovery cage, immobilized in a state of helplessness, presumably by overwhelming pain.
Declawing fits the dictionary definition of mutilation to a tee. Words such as deform, disfigure, disjoint, and dismember all apply to this surgery. Partial digital amputation is so horrible that it has been employed for torture of prisoners of war, and in veterinary medicine, the clinical procedure serves as model of severe pain for testing the efficacy of analgesic drugs. Even though analgesic drugs can be used postoperatively, they rarely are, and their effects are incomplete and transient anyway, so sooner or later the pain will emerge.”
Declawing is considered inhumane by many and has been banned in 23 countries, and in West Hollywood, Calif. and Norfolk, Va., in the U.S.
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