Declawing Efforts Buried Under Bad Economy

Declawing Efforts Buried Under Bad Economy

by Elisa Black-Taylor

Good morning readers. While it isn’t my intention to give all of you a major headache with today’s topic, I can almost guarantee you’ll have one by the time I finish.

There is little research done in the writing of this article. This is completely my personal opinion and I may be wrong on some counts. Please feel free to agree or disagree with me on these issues.

The idea to write on declawing efforts buried under bad economy pertains to the U.S. I do feel other countries are in as much financial trouble as we are and the declawing of cats is illegal in those countries. So why not in the U.S.?

Michael has long awaited an explanation on why everyone pulled out of attending the veterinary conference last year when he had made plans to fly over and support those who went should enough choose to attend.

My personal reasons not to attend stem not only from health issues, but financial ones. I feel sure financial concerns were the top reason those who wanted to attend couldn’t. I’d only been at my new job for about six months and would have lost it had I asked for time off. That and the income I’d have lost by not working. Combine the cost of a plane ticket, hotel expense, rental car and meals and it was just out of the question.

I feel many Americans are in as bad a shape financially as I am. Most can’t even afford the cost of a vacation these days.

Many of us are in low paying jobs. I’ve heard the average income where I live is around $40000. I’d LOVE to know where those jobs are because most people I know who work make less than half of that.

We’re in low paying jobs with little opportunity for advancement if you live in small town America. This includes those with an education. There are jobs galore in maintenance engineering, but your average person working in a store or business is lucky to make even $1 an hour over minimum wage.

Those who work in what’s known as “production” are constantly scrutinized and turnover rate is high if you don’t perform up to standards. These jobs are performed doing the same thing over and over day after day after day. This creates a lot of stress. Those jobs typically pay better than those involving customer service

Then you’re taxed to death with everything from property to income taxes. Plus deduct insurance premiums and you’ll find most people are worth more dead than alive.

Were any of you who wanted to go to the convention faced with these monetary or job obstacles?

Our country is in serious financial trouble where the average family is concerned. I’ve learned through my research that many of us who care for cats are one income families. Meaning we’re single, widowed or divorced. Yet our government has made drastic cuts to healthcare, education, and programs that help those with little income.

I have a neighbor whose granddaughter has seizures. The little girl is three years old and has to go to a doctor over 200 miles from home to be covered by Medicaid, as the treatment is too expensive for her divorced mother. Doctors don’t work for free, you know.

One U.S. study shows that one child in six goes to bed hungry at night. There are EBT (food assistance)programs out there that aren’t available for many who really need them. For those of you in other countries, this is a card much like a debit card that is loaded monthly with a predetermined amount and used to purchase food.There are also “food banks” who will only hand out food to the needy if they already have an EBT card. DUH. Don’t even get me started on that one!

Unemployment in this country is a joke. The official figures may say we are in recovery. These figures only consider those still drawing benefits and does not include those whose benefits have been exhausted.

I know many cat foster mom’s whose homes are now in foreclosure. When your home is at stake, the idea of attending out of state events isn’t even an option. You’re too worried about what your next paycheck will or won’t cover.

There are a lot of us petitioning for declawing to be banned, but many are going about it the wrong way. It’s already been proven that lawmakers think very little of online petitions. They want to see hard copy with lots of signatures the way things used to be done. When you sign an online petition, you never know if or when it will get to the person who needs to see it.

Even real, honest to goodness petitions about a declawing ban don’t have the impact everyone wants. Why? Because of the state of the economy. When lawmakers convene and try to focus on issues that affect animal abuse or animal cruelty (and declawing DOES fall under both of these), they are hesitant to push the issue. Voters retaliate and say “why are they talking about animals when PEOPLE are in trouble!” People are without jobs and homes and healthcare and after all “IT’S JUST A CAT!”

One of these days I’m going to go to jail when someone says those words to me!

That mentality is still out there and alive and well in this country. The sad thing is the politicians are supported by the rich, who are interested in seeing legislation that protects the rich and THEIR money. I feel sure there’s money changing hands somewhere that dictates which items are talked about during congressional sessions and the like.

The average person who supports animals and wants to make the world a better place for them is NOT the person calling the shots in this country and probably never will be. I know a lot of activists spend a lot of time online promoting our causes.

Guess what? Those financially very well off don’t spend even a third as much time on line as we do. They’re dealing with life “live and in person.” Whether at politically funded dinners or entertainment or any other event it takes money to engage in. That’s a luxury many don’t have here. Many could care less what happens to animals as THEIR pets are well cared for because they have the means to do so.

A lot of people have blamed our president for this as though it’s just happened. This country has been sliding down hill for a long time. He just inherited the financial mess. And I personally don’t think anything he tries to do is going to help the average American in the long run.

Until this economy gets itself in balance (likely NEVER), animals are going to be far down on the totem poll as far as passing laws to protect them. It seems to be a state by state issue with some laws having harsher punishment for abuse than others. Until declawing is declared animal abuse/animal cruelty, little will change as far as the way our government officials perceive it.

Personally, the only way I see declawing being banned in the U.S. is to put it into the same category legally as abuse or cruelty. Start enforcing the same fines and prison terms as willful abuse. After all, this IS willful. You’d have to go after not only the vet, but the cat owner who allows the abuse to take place.

To create a law where declawing stands alone just isn’t likely to happen in this lifetime.

Ruth at PoC has the right idea. Education is key. We must end declawing by educating the younger people in this country where it won’t even be considered as an option. Any other method used will likely fail.

There is now a law in my country that was signed by President Obama a few months ago stating that anyone who is involved in terrorism can be detained without officially being charged and held for an undetermined amount of time. This law was meant to allow authorities to immediately seize those suspected of terrorism. It’s about to backfire.

A Senator for the state I live in, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) has stated“The homeland is part of the battlefield and people can be held without trial whether an American citizen or not.” . To me, this is terrifying because I wonder to what extreme lawmakers are going to take this!

Now go and read the article I did on animal rights activists being terrorists. Protesting at a convention, or even outside a declawing vets office, can now fall under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. That means we put a dent in the money a declawing vet takes in and that now makes us “terrorists.”

There are people in this country who are protesting and trying to get back the country we once had. They, too, are being arrested.

I’m really curious whether those who brought about changed in declawing laws in other countries were under threat of arrest for terrorism. Were they thrown in jail for protesting? Did their goverment offical care more for cats than voters opinion? They must have or the laws against declawing wouldn’t exist!

Michael, everything you’ve said about this country is true. We don’t have the freedom we used to have. Our jobs and our freedom are at stake and everyone is very afraid for the future.

There’s a saying in this country that goes “no good deed goes unpunished.” That’s more true today than it was with any other generation.

Some days it’s hard just being a cat lady and knowing my limits. I do what I can. I write to inform and I try to save a few lives with my rescue efforts.

Holding a cat is the only emotional release I have from what my country has become.

How do the readers here feel? Have I pretty much hit the nail on the head? Have I left out anything people in other countries should know before they judge us as uncaring. I believe we do care about cats here. We’re simply trapped by what the government allows and refuses to change.

Michael, I hope this answers some of your questions.


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Declawing Efforts Buried Under Bad Economy

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Feb 19, 2012
by: Ruth (Monty’s Mom)

It all comes down to greed, starting with greedy vets making money declawing cats, but extending to companies who won’t pay a decent wage. I’m a free market gal and I don’t have a problem with people making money. But I found an article in Milwaukee Magazine a couple months ago that showed the widening gap between CEO pay and pay for the average worker. Company profits increase, but 89% of the increase goes to the top 10% of workers. Should the CEO make more than the guy who scrubs the toilets? Of course. But when the janitor can’t feed his family on his pay, and ends up surviving using credit cards, you have a problem. There isn’t any money for unexpected expenses and people just get buried in debt. Meanwhile, as the company contemplates layoffs the CEO, already making six million dollars a year, gets a raise. That’s a real example from a local Milwaukee company. I just saw a job on craigslist that pays $2.33 an hour plus tips. The minimum wage for tipped employees was $2.19 an hour in the 1980’s. Wages have barely budged, but prices are three and four times higher. Another job offered $11.00 an hour, but you needed a four year degree for that one. It’s insane. Ed’s right– people need to care for their pets no matter what– but that’s tough to do on $11.00 an hour when gas is nearly $4.00 a gallon and a week’s worth of groceries for a family is easily over $200.

Feb 18, 2012
Worry but be kind
by: Edward

It seems to me man that people are more worried about themselves and I dont see why they cant worry about their cats as well.
You can worry about more than one thing at a time and I worry if I lose my job what Ill do but it wouldnt stop me in my responsibility to look after my cats because they didnt ask me to have them.
I cant think why people think if they hit bad times it doesnt matter about their cats as if they dont count.
Well they do count and people shouldnt shrug off their duty to them they dont ask for much only love and food and care.

Feb 17, 2012
by: Paula Amos

Sad thing is???? I dont see a lot changing now!!! People have it real bad , and GAS!!! Why so high??? so when people try to rescue a animal ??? They cannot because of money problems! And declawing is a problem for many . But you are right it needs to be looked into more!!! Thank you

Feb 16, 2012
by: Elisa

I did read on several declawing sites back in the summer about people going to protest the convention. I’m just not sure how many went. But you’re correct in that those living in the area should have gone.

I’d love to live in the UK just to see how much better cats are treated there.

For anyone who doesn’t believe animals are second class citizens here in the states, we even have a presidential candidate Mitt Romney who tied his dogs kennel to the top of his vehicle while moving back in 1983.

Feb 16, 2012
Yes education is the way
by: Ruth

A very well thought out article Elisa and I do feel heartily sorry for you and the people in the USA like you, who care passionately about cats but don’t seem to make much progress for their welfare.
I must admit when I found out declawing was almost routine there, my first thought after shock and horror, was right let’s get up a petition to get it banned !
That was over 3 years ago now and as you know we put a lot of work into it and collected over 4,000 signatures before the web site went down.
But the effort wasn’t wasted because it brought declawing to the attention of a lot of people who didn’t know it happened. Those people told other people and cats claws began to be saved because of the knowledge being shared.
I’ve faced the fact that declawing isn’t going to be banned there in the near future so meanwhile as you say, the best way forward is by education.
Sadly it won’t save all cats but hundreds have already been spared being declawed because the truth of it has spread and is still spreading.
Facebook anti declaw groups are growing daily and more articles are being written about the cruelty of declawing and more advice not to declaw being given.
I know for a fact that PoC has saved many cats from this mutilation !
We are winning slowly because of more supporters and our ongoing education about the cruelty of declawing, eventually the demand for it will die down. We already see vets advertising discount declawing and making videos about how it’s best for the cat in order to have a happy forever home. They are lying in their desperation to keep on making easy money from the suffering of cats. Cats to many USA vets are second class citizens, that’s quite obvious !
The UK is in serious financial difficulties too, the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer, but the people power here will not let animals suffer because of that.
Of the 400 plus people who signed up for the St Louis demo, I agree with you, some may have ill health and some unable to afford to go, but as Michael says, surely out of all those people some could have made the effort and gone as promised.
Some good old UK grit, determination and staying power is badly needed in the USA.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 16, 2012
by: Michael

Thanks for this Elisa. At the time I was unaware of the depth of the financial hardship. And as you say the poorer people don’t really have a voice and the better off don’t need to say anything other than protect what they have.

I still think that out of 310 million people in the USA, 100 could have turned up to demonstrate. Even 100 from the city where the conference took place. No travel needed. Cheap and easy. I agree that money was a factor but the bigger factor was apathy.

In the UK demonstrations are being demonised by the police. There is less freedom to demonstrate. Anyone can demonstrate but where large crowds form the police come out in force and “kettle” them (corral them together). This is false imprisonment and a crime but no one can beat that in court at the moment.

The police are no longer respected in the UK because of a range of reasons all of which are of the police’s own making.

In the UK declawing was never an issue. It is not banned expressly (mentioned specifically in the law) but banned under the general animal welfare law: Animal Welfare Act 2006. If the Animal Welfare Act 2006 was law in the USA vets would become criminals overnight.

I say declawing in the US could be illegal under the US general animal welfare law but no one has tried it out.

It is a bit odd to be honest. Someone should bring a test case in the USA but it requires the consent of the authorities to prosecute a person for a crime unless you can bring a private prosecution as you can in the UK.

One factor that may have encouraged declawing in he USA is the wildlife there. Cats are kept indoors because there is wildlife that can hurt cats that are outside. Keeping cats inside encourages people to view cats as less of an animal and more as an “accessory” an object.

Also there is less need for claws as a defense, which also encourages declawing. However, I see this as a poor argument. Traffic probably kills far more cats than wild animals in the USA. There are almost no wild animals in the UK that kill the domestic cat, incidentally, which may be one reason why people let their cats out more in the UK.

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