Cat's pads damaged in use after declawing.
The successes in California late last year when eight cities banned the declawing of cats was extremely welcome. But what was unwelcome was the constant wheeling out of the veterinarians' tired and clichéd argument that declawing saves the lives of cats by stopping cat owners relinquishing cats because of the damage caused by their claws. A very poor argument at best and plain wrong at worst: See Cat Declawing Myths and Truths.
But an argument nonetheless that city councilors had to sit through and ponder on. A lot of people might actually believe it. And I don't like to see the clear water of truth "muddied up" by false arguments.
How to beat this problem? Although there is a lot of fairly scientific research on declawing and cat relinquishment it is often not strictly scientific enough to eliminate argument. Also I don't know who funded it or who or which organization requested that it be carried out. If it was definitive there would be no argument.
The instructions or reasons for the research are important. This is because if a person who is pro cat declawing instructs a scientist to conduct research, he or she is likely to instruct a person who thinks in the same way. Or they will encourage, even in the slightest way, the author to produce findings that support the instructing organisation's desires and objectives. That cuts both ways. Anti-declawers like myself would hope that a report instigated by me would support my feelings that declawing of cats does not save cat's lives. In fact in the long term I say it destroys cats by supporting the wrong basis for the cat/human companionship.
The way around this is to adopt what happens in court rooms across the world when an expert's opinion is required as it frequently is (and often causes controversy).
Often the opposing parties in legal battles agree to jointly instruct a single respected expert and to be bound by the findings. Alternatively, they instruct their own but then their own experts formulate a final report based on common ground.
I am thinking more of the former. If the AVMA and us (people who hate declawing) could agree on an expert to prepare a definitive report it would cut out of the equation a lot of muddying argument.
People who oppose declawing know it is wrong. It is obviously wrong but we can't use that as an argument as it is based on morality and morality is somewhat subjective (or so some people think). We must "pin down" the veterinarians by sound argument to the point that there is no where for the vets to go but accept the plain truth.
I am prepared, through, PoC to fund such a report. Provided the expert is carefully selected, I propose that the outcome would help the debate and in fact lead to more bans on declawing as the arguments seen in council chambers in California would be history.