In China they believe that having double-eyelids make their eyes look larger and more attractive. Every year 1 million young Chinese undergo the operation. It makes them happy and it is fashionable. They say the eyes look bigger and brighter.
A woman cat owner living in east China decided to instruct a veterinarian to carry out a double-eyelid cosmetic surgery operation on her cat. She felt that her cat’s eyes were ugly. The operation cost 10,000 yuan (about US$1100).
Images released to news media show the cat with swollen eyes and a line of stitches visible under each eye. There’s been a backlash both from the public and from veterinarians. This operation would not be allowed in the West because it is purely cosmetic and is against the health and welfare of the cat. It would be a breach of a veterinarian’s oath.
The pet hospital in Nanjing where the operation was carried out do provide double-eyelid surgery for cats and dogs. They say that the operation is common among dog owners who want to show their dogs at dog shows.
I’m sure that some veterinarians would consider this to be unethical (all of them should). There is always a health risk with a full anaesthetic and to put a cat under that risk for cosmetic reasons at the convenience of the owner is immoral and certainly unethical.
One veterinarian at a different hospital said that the procedure was frivolous and that they would never put a cat under the knife unless the animal was sick and it was done for health reasons. That should be the viewpoint of every veterinarian.
The woman has been heavily criticised on Chinese social media. They state the obvious that the procedure is simply to make the cat look prettier from the woman’s point of view but is unnecessary and causes pain to the animal. Another commenter said it was in effect torture. Another person said it was animal abuse and disregarded the cat’s feelings.
It appears that plastic surgery for pets is a growing industry. In the United States the business was worth US$62 million in 2011.
Wendy Higgins, the director of international media at Humane Society International said in response to a Daily Mail enquiry the following:
“Subjecting a cat to that risk as well as all the associated discomfort and fear, in the name of non-essential surgery for human vanity is certainly irresponsible and not in the best welfare interest of the cat.”
The woman in question is misguided because we all know that a cat’s natural appearance is beautiful. It is nature created and it does not need altering for cosmetic reasons. The only occasion on which such surgery should take place is for health reasons.
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