Chris Brockett is the immediate past president of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society. He amongst many other veterinarians in New York State is bristling at the very thought of there being a ban on declawing in their state. You may remember that Linda Rosenthal, an Assemblywoman, wants the declawing of cats to be banned throughout New York State and has proposed legislation which does exactly that. We are awaiting the passing of that legislation into law despite the Cat Channel’s misleading title to their article.
Although it is unsurprising that the immediate past president of the state’s Veterinary Medical Society is firmly against declawing, it is less surprising that he openly admits that he declaws his cats without a single thought directed at the faint possibility that it just might be unethical for a veterinarian to declaw cats because (and he must have forgotten it) it is totally against his oath which he gave when he joined the profession when declawing is done for non-therapeutic purposes which it almost always is. I’m sorry Mr Brockett but you have been behaving unethically for most of your professional career.
Mr Brockett states:
“Every cat that I have ever owned I have declawed and there is no impact on their life expectancy….There is no behaviour change.”
Mr Brockett never declawed as a last resort….Mr Brockett’s thin argument is that the decision to declaw cats should be between the client and the veterinarian and it should not therefore be a banned operation. Unfortunately, when the decision is left to be made between the veterinarian and the client the decision is invariably made incorrectly because the client is persuaded by the veterinarian to declaw her cat. The reason is obvious: because the vet makes some money out of it. Therefore, Mr Brockett’s argument is false and wholly incorrect. Of course he is presenting his argument not for the reason that he states but because he can foresee a large drop in revenue across the board by veterinarians in New York state if the ban becomes law.
As usual, the American Veterinary Medical Association say that declawing should be a last resort. We know that but what you say carries little weight if no weight at all because declawing in America is not a last resort but often the first choice on the advice of the veterinarian. It is rarely employed after the client has exhausted all other avenues to prevent their cat scratching furniture. Often kittens are declawed at a very young age as a preventative measure against scratching furniture. This is an open admission to everyone that the veterinarian is breaking his code of practice because under these circumstances it cannot be a last resort.
For my part, I consider it unforgivable that a senior veterinarian in New York state should openly admit that he declaws his cats while totally ignoring the ethical dimension of the operation. It seems that veterinarians have lost their moral compass completely.
In addition, although Mr Brockett states that in his case there’s been no behavioural changes in his cats after declawing, there is ample evidence across the country that in a substantial number of cases there are behavioural problems and indeed anatomical problems arising out of the declawing operation. In one state, Utah, I calculated that a massive number of domestic cats were affected behaviourally due to the operation.
It is time for transparency and the truth. People seek transparency and truth in politicians, people and the authorities who lead the country, states, counties and cities. They also seek decency and in the case of Mr Brockett they’re not getting it. When leaders and owners of veterinary hospitals do the wrong thing what can we expect of others?