A Senior New York Veterinarian Who Declaws His Cats

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.

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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?

9 thoughts on “A Senior New York Veterinarian Who Declaws His Cats”

  1. But you have no problems at all with cutting-off their gonads or opening them up with knives to scoop-out their reproductive organs, some even slicing-off their ears. And this contradiction of yours doesn’t bother you? I guess it’s okay to cut-up cats in the socially-acceptable manner that you’ve decided on but no others. Oy, the unending hypocracy of cat-fanatic never ceases to amaze the thinking person.

  2. Tis already started Michael
    In 2009, The Paw Project led the successful campaigns to legally ban declawing of domestic cats in 7 more California cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Burbank, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Beverly Hills and Culver City so lets hope the whole state of NY will ban it :O)

    • We are all waiting patiently on whether NY state is going to make the big move and ban declawing. It will be a big moment as it may lead to other states following. If they do make it law, NY state will be the first to ban declawing.

  3. It’s all about the money.

    I’ve lived with cats for over 30 years and there was only one time I can remember having problems with a cat clawing furniture. One of my little girls didn’t like the horizontal flat scratchers, so she went after my couch. Cujo liked to stand up, dig her claws in, and then pull down as she stretched her back. I slapped some two sided sticky tape on the sofa and the next day I went to Petsmart and bought her a vertical scratching post. A sprinkle of catnip and that new post instantly became everyone’s favorite.

    Vets who promote declawing are in it for the money. They don’t tell people about the behavior changes or the pain, and they certainly don’t tell clients that if a bit of the nail is left inside during the procedure it either causes the cat constant pain or the nail grows back. That happens more than people realize. The tech might be poorly trained, or they’re on a tight schedule doing assembly line work declawing a lot of cats. Declawing causes more problems than it solves.


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