The latest development is very welcome by people who are educated enough to realise that declawing for non-therapeutic reasons is plain wrong.
At the AVMA national convention it was decided to come clean about the nature of the declaw operation. For donkey’s years the AVMA has been hiding the truly gruesome nature of the declaw operation by calling it “declawing”; a smoke and mirrors act of disguise to fool the public.
They reluctantly decided to clarify things – at last – by using the word “amputation” in its description. Let’s not forget that this is only the truth. It is not a revelation. The AVMA have decided to tell the truth 50 years after one of their members invented the ghastly operation. Better late than never I guess.
Dr Ted Cohn is the new AVMA president. He says that the intention is to “elevate the seriousness of the procedure in the minds of veterinarians and, hopefully, the public”.
Is he actually saying that the veterinarians don’t realise how serious the operation is? I find that astonishing. It could be true and if it is, it tells us how out of touch with reality the vets are who carry out this operation for non-therapeutic reasons (almost all of them).
The AVMA has been criticised for doing a poor job of educating the cat owning public about declawing. In truth it is actually worse than that. Some vets have actively deceived and mislead the public by understating the severity of the operation and the potential complications which can be lifelong and debilitating.
The AVMA have also justified declawing on the basis that is protects people with compromised immune systems. However, Aubrey Lavizzo the director of Paw Project Colorado, says that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines for immunocompromised people makes no reference to declawing cats. This is another example of veterinary dishonesty.
Dr Cohn is old-school. He believes that the partial amputation of ten toes (at least) is “still necessary in some cases”. He believes this because he says that if vets stopped doing the operation all together there would be “many more cats running feral or in shelters”.
Yes, initially some cat owners would abandon their cats to shelters because they are the wrong people to keep a cat. Then gradually less people would abandon their cats as they found ways to respect the whole cat, claws and all. Quite soon only people who were genuinely suited to owning a cat would care for cats and then we would see the long term benefits of many less abandonments and much less careless breeding and unwanted cats.
There would be major benefits to cat welfare in the long term if there was a nationwide cessation of cat toe amputations for convenience (aka declawing).
Aubrey Lavizzo wants more than a change in the words describing the operation. He is correct. I feel that more changes are to come but change is slow because these bad veterinary habits are deeply entrenched.
Source: Story on Denver Westword Blogs – photo by angela n on Flickr
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