I notice that the lawmakers of Michigan are discussing the introduction of two laws relating to our pet cats and dogs which indicate that they are unwittingly species biased in favour of dogs.
For cats, they have House Bill number 6030 (introduced by Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D)). If it became law it would require all Michigan veterinarians performing declawing operations on cats to provide the cat’s owner with informational material on the operation (provided by the Department of Health and Human Resources). This would hope to plug the current hole in veterinarians failing to properly tell cat owners what the declawing operation entails. A high proportion of cat owners are blissfully unaware that it entails the partial amputation of ten toes.
This law would be good although less good than a complete ban on declawing.
For dogs, the law makers of Michigan are discussing an equally controversial and unnecessary operation conducted for non-therapeutic reasons: debarking (House Bill 6031 – Introduced by Rep. Tim Sneller (D)). They want to ban this operation unless it is for therapeutic reasons. This would stop owners debarking dogs for their convenience.
So for dogs they want to ban debarking but for cats they don’t want to ban declawing. Can you see the problem? The operations are very similar in terms of their non-therapeutic aspect and convenience to the owner and yet the cat gets lets protection from the law.
I call this speciesism: favouring one animal species over another; in this case dogs over cats. It is not uncommon to see this with respect to cats and dogs. Cats don’t do themselves any favours as they are seen as ‘independent’ and ‘aloof’ by those who don’t understand them. This weakens the desire to protect them.
Incidentally both bills are ‘parked’ at the committee stage with no further action at this time. New law moves very slowly if at all.
Source of info re. law changes: Mackinac Center For Public Policy.