Battle Between Animal Guardian and Veterinarian

There should be a battle between animal guardian and veterinarian. One was recently played out in the government of NY State with respect to the proposed ban on devocalisation.

Is the reason why vets declaw cats, and devocalise dogs and cats in the United States:

  1. because the public, who own cats and dogs, demand it;
  2. because the vets encourage declawing and devocalising and go further by defending the practice against legislation that might ban both, or;
  3. a combination of vet and companion animal owner?

The general consensus is that these inherently cruel veterinary practices are due to a combination of owners  who request it and vets who willingly do it for financial profit. There is an alliance.

Which is the senior party in the alliance?

The answer can probably be found in the outcome of the attempt to ban devocalisation in NY State. This failed.

The majority leader Skelos chose not to bring the devocalization ban to the Senate floor for a vote. Skelos’s decision was successfully swayed by the New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS) who tirelessly lobbied the legislators to drop the bill to ban devocalisation.

On this basis we have to say that the veterinarians are in the driving seat. They create the culture and maintain it for the sake of business. The give devocalisation their seal of approval in NY State. That is a very strong message.

As Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets (CPR Pets) says, it is down to the public to change their habits against the direct or indirect  encouragement of the vets.

It is hard to go against the ‘professionals’. They have a standing in society and are meant to know better. It is up to individuals to think ‘out of the box’ and refuse to consider operations that are not for truly therapeutic purposes but for the convenience of the cat or dog’s owner. That will gradually take business away from the vets and make them realise that it is a service that should no longer be provided.

It is a question of each individual cat or dog owner making their own decisions on the subject and not following the crowd or convention.

Ruth Young, who wrote a recent article on rehabilitation therapy for dogs and cats says that the vet she knows, Dr. Gretchen Jaeger, D.V.M., who practices this therapy, does not like to declaw cats but does so on a request by a cat owner because if she refused the person would go elsewhere. She would lose business for no good reason. That is the argument.

I see the argument but disagree with it. You have to start somewhere. Someone has to change and the first people to do it will lose out as Jaegar says. But in the long run a vet refusing to declaw will lead to others following, resulting in change. Vets don’t think like that so, as I said, it is down to the public to make waves.

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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3 Responses

  1. Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

    I think Dr. Jaeger, whom I interviewed for the article on cat rehabilitation, declaws not to keep customers– her business is booming– but because she is afraid if she does not the cat will end up in a shelter and possibly be euthanized. She stated that the real problem is that there are too many cats. She declaws to keep cats in homes. I did point out that my friends in cat rescue see an awful lot of declawed cats in shelters, so declawing is not keeping cats in their homes. Dr. Jaeger hates declawing but feels she is saving cat’s lives by doing it. I think it is despicable that clients can hold a caring professional hostage like that, the choice being mutilate the cat or see him turned into a shelter where he stands a good chance of being euthanized. I think that Dr. Jaeger herself is paying a high personal price to keep declawing some cats while at the same time treating other cats for the problems caused by declaw surgeries. Eventually, I believe she will not be able to continue declawing, but then she’ll have to carry a different burden– knowing the cat will either be declawed somewhere else where the cat will be given nothing for pain or where the procedure will be done poorly (not that it ever is good to do it) or the cat will get turned in to a shelter. Maybe we do just need a law against it. It’s not just vets who are the problem. It’s the clients who literally bully the vets into doing it.

  2. admin says:

    I think you make an excellent point, Ruth. American vets will make much more money in the long run if they stopped doing these unethical operations. It would boost their standing in society if they stopped. It would be excellent PR. They could easily find much better alternatives to make money.

    There is no reason to do these operations other than short term, short sighted financial gain.

    Vets in the UK, as you say, make a decent living without declawing and devocalising. Why not the American vets? What is the difference between American and British vets? Ethics I guess, and imagination. You have to conclude that.

  3. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    What is so annoying is that declaw vets don’t have to lose out on the dollars they make from mutilating cats by declawing them. They could make humane money by claw trimming, by selling scratching posts and pads and furniture made by the wonderful Bret Glass of CatAWhack, they could sell these by having a vet tech give advice on teaching cats to use scratching posts etc.
    These would be honest dollars earned, not by causing cats to suffer! The vets who say clients would go elsewhere are only justifying their making of money through suffering.
    It’s past the time all vets should have morals and should stick to their sworn oath to cause no animal suffering.
    How many times do we read of people who had their cat declawed saying they didn’t know what it really meant? Their vets should have told them and I reckon that a large percentage of clients being told the truth that claws are essential to a cats health and welfare and then told about the alternatives to declawing, would change their minds.
    Yes clients must take some responsibilty for not asking exactly what declawing means, but they seem to be brainwashed to those of us who are horrified at the thought of taking even ‘only’ a cats claws. Vets in countries where declawing is banned make good livings, there is no reason why the vets in the USA and Canada can’t do the same!

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