We know that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have changed the wording of their position statement with respect to the declawing of wild and exotic cats for non-medical reasons. Is this indicative of a general shift in their stance on declawing? Does it presage a change in their position regarding declawing of domestic cats? This is a discussion page.
The executive board of the AVMA on their website says:
“AVMA now condemns declawing wild and exotic cats…”
I would like to analysis that statement briefly. The executive board changed the wording from “opposes” to “condemns”. This shows stronger feelings by the executive board against declawing wild cats and exotic cats.
The AVMA make it clear that:
Other than for medical reasons that would clearly benefit the animal, there appears to be no justification for performing the procedure in this population of cats.
“This population of cats..” refers to wild cats and exotic cats. We know what wild cats are but there is no absolute definition of “exotic cat”. For me and many people, “exotic cat” refers to wild cat hybrids and these are domestic cats. However, we should not get excited because I don’t think the AVMA want to include wild cat hybrid domestic cats in this statement. This is just a minor point but I think the wording could be improved.
So, what is the difference between wild cats in captivity and domestic cats? Why have the AVMA differentiated between wild cats and domestic cats in respect of their attitude to declawing? Isn’t this a form of unnecessary discrimination? What justification is there for this artificial discrimination?
Wild cats in captivity are often tame. They are almost domesticated. Perhaps they are domesticated. The definition of “domesticated” is:
To train or adapt (an animal or plant) to live in a human environment and be of use to humans.
In the United States, servals are often domesticated and live in homes. Servals are medium sized wild cats. Cougars are also domesticated and even tigers etc.. These cats are often declawed. How does their position statement square up with the huge number of domesticated wild cats?
As the declawing of domesticated servals continues to take place and the operation is carried out by AVMA registered vets are the AVMA going to punish these vets? NO, of course not. They can’t as far as I am aware. The AVMA has a publicity function as I understand it. They appear to have no teeth and set no enforceable standards. The oath is meaningless because every day tens of thousands of vets are in flagrant breach of it when they declaw a cat.
The point I am making is that there is very little difference between captive, domesticated wild cats that live in homes or enclosures attached to homes and “domestic cats” yet the AVMA condemns the declawing of these cats but not domestic cats.
The AVMA position statement appears to be discriminatory hot air, words not action. Yet even that miniscule change of position gives us, people who hate declawing, hope of real change.
Perhaps the mew wording is a very small signal that the AVMA is recognising that declawing cats, domestic or wild, is immoral and, in fact, damages their profession. I argue that it would be an excellent business decision to condemn declawing across the board and then for the vets to stop doing it. They’d make more money in the long run because they would be better respected in the community for genuinely being concerned about animal welfare.