Cat Declaw Breaks The Crimimal Law
Photo by Frodrig (Flickr) - Animals should have individual rights that can be protected by a lawyer
31-1-10: Yes, cat declaw breaks the criminal law in the USA. Take any state, for example Alabama. I am sure declawing goes on unabated in the south. The criminal code there states that it is a class A misdemeanor to mutilate a cat.
So why aren't there a gazillion prosecutions of the vets and cat owners?
ANSWER: Because the cat has no individual rights and the operation of declawing is carried out under the consent of the cat owner.
But the operation of declawing is a whisker, a millimeter away from a crime. The only barrier is consent by the cat owner. The owner takes away the rights of the cat.
And that smallest of distances can be bridged if some city or state legislators appointed an animal advocate to represent a cat or any other animal.
If an animal advocate was authorised under the law of a city or state to act on behalf of the cat as a sentient being with individual rights there is no doubt that the first couple of "cat owner and vet" to declaw a cat would be prosecuted for animal cruelty. It would probably lead to fining the individuals involved and an abandonment of declawing cats in the state concerned. As can be seen, when I talk of animal advocate I don't just mean someone who speaks on behalf of animals but a lawyer who prosecutes on behalf of animals in cases of animal abuse and cruelty.
Of course an animal advocate would also protect all animals. Now, this seems like dreamland, a parallel universe and a deeply unpopular one for many millions of Americans. And I am not against Americans. I am just for what is right, proper and decent.
Your typical right winger would think me a pinko liberal and a dreamer - a crazy animal rights person. But I am not because in Switzerland there will be a referendum (in March 2010) on whether animals in Switzerland should have the right to be represented in court (Sunday Times 31-1-10). The concept of animal rights is mainstream in Switzerland.
And in any case animal rights people are not crazies. They are the opposite in fact. They are more aware and more normal than people who consider cats as "only cats" (i.e. we can do as we please with them).
And I can tell you that the declawing of a cat is a quantum leap more cruel than the kind of things people are prosecuted for in the canton of Zurich who are ahead of the game in appointing an animal advocate already.
As a graphic illustration, a domestic violence case was investigated by police in Zurich who discovered a canary on its own. It is known that canaries are social animals. The man was charged with wife beating and animal abuse...!
How far is that from systematic abuse of cats through declawing?
It is obvious to me that a society which protects animal rights is a better society than one that abuses cats - and declawing cats for non-therapeutic reasons is without question an abuse. Why? Well it's commonsense. A society that cares for the more vulnerable (and cats are automatically more vulnerable than people) is bound to be more thoughtful and caring and therefore more likely to be treating people better too.
The appointment of an animal advocate would be an alternative to banning declawing of cats because cat declaw breaks the criminal law. And it would help all animals.
There should be a referendum in America on the appointment of a state (or city) animal advocate. Lets start in California, the state were there are cities that are more enlightened than others in the USA.
Such an appointment (should it be a city wide advocate) would bypass the California state law that forbids cities banning declawing (as at 1st January 2010). It would tap into existing law.