NEWS AND COMMENT-CALIFORNIA, USA: The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the legislature of California is debating a ban on declawing cats for non-therapeutic purposes. In other words, if this bill passes into law the citizens of California will no longer be able to take their cat to a veterinarian for the removal of their cat’s claws at their convenience. Veterinarians will only be able to declaw a cat if it is in the interests of the cat’s health and welfare. At the moment, as you no doubt know, nearly every declawing operation in America is for non-therapeutic purposes. The necessity of declawing a cat for therapeutic purposes is very rare.
For years, animal activists and animal advocates have been pressing lawmakers in any state of the USA to enact laws which ban declawing. It has been a struggle from the onset because of the continual resistance to a ban on declawing by the American Veterinary Medical Association because their members need to declaw cats to keep up their profit margins. They carry out the operation very quickly and often it is botched. It is botched far more often than you could possibly imagine according to my information. Even if it wasn’t botched it would be barbaric and that word is not chosen by me but by the UK’s number one veterinarian and author, Dr. Bruce Fogle.
Anyway, back to this bill which excites me tremendously. The bill (a law which is being debated and which may one day become enacted to be an act or statute) is online and you can see it by clicking on this link. It is called rather blandly: An act to add Section 31755 to the Food and Agricultural Code, relating to animals.
Primatologist Jane Goodall famously said:
“Cruelty is the worst of human sins.”
Cat declawing for non-therapeutic purposes is clearly cruel.
The bill tells us that declawing in Calif. is already prohibited on exotic or native wild cat species. That’s interesting because the lawmakers have seen fit to ban declawing of wild cats but not of domestic cats. That is an obvious anomaly which has to be rectified. They’ve done it by adding in some extra legislation: Section 31755 is added to the Food and Agricultural Code, to read…
The bill is described as follows in the introduction:
“This bill would prohibit a person from performing surgical claw removal, declawing, or a tendonectomy on any cat or otherwise altering a cat’s toes, claws, or paws to prevent or impair the normal function of the cat’s toes, claws, or paws, except for a therapeutic purpose. The bill would subject a person that violates that prohibition to specified civil penalties.”
It is proposed that a violation of the law if and when it is enacted and is in force would attract a $500 fine for the first violation and a $1000 fine for the second violation. A third and subsequent violation would attract a $2500 fine.
There are a number of cities in California which have already banned declawing. For that reason, the bill has a section which states that this statute which will be state-wide does not conflict with existing laws in certain cities. In fact, there are eight Californian cities where declawing is banned including Los Angeles and San Francisco. Apparently, Republican Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger at the time prevented a law coming into force in California in 2008 which would have stopped local governments from banning declawing.
There are countless good reasons to ban declawing for non-therapeutic purposes. It causes enormous pain, it can disable a cat, it can cause lifelong physical and mental health problems. It is unnecessary. It is immoral to do it at the convenience of the cat’s owner. The operation is not part of the agreement that we have with domestic cats in which they keep us company and entertain us and we look after them.
This bill now heads to the state Senate. New York state was the first to ban declawing on a state-wide basis. Maryland followed early in 2022. It is California’s lawmakers’ fourth attempt at banning declawing since 2018 apparently.
Declawing is banned either directly or indirectly in about 36 countries. America is out of step especially as they are a cat loving country. It is an anomaly. It is an aberration. It should never have been created in the first place.
Below are some more pages on the complications encountered after the declawing operation.