National Geographic: “Science on Declawing is Divisive”

National Geographic has got it decisively wrong in their article on declawing cats, which was written to mark the forthcoming release of the new Paw Project documentary film.

The author of the National Geographic article states that the arguments for and against declawing through scientific research is “divisive”, meaning inconclusive. A major contributor to the science is Gary Patronek of Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine who himself states that his older research offers “something for everyone”. He refers to it as if he created a marketable “product” and not a piece of objective, scientific research, which apparently it is not.

Patronek also states that his work on the risk factors for cats being left at shelters was “really quite inconclusive” when it came to declawing1. Question for Gary: were you truly neutral when you did the research?

The point that the author of the National Geographic article misses is that the AVMA does not want to commission modern, conclusive research into cat declawing in respect of:

  • the abuse of the practice by veterinarians who often use it as a bread and butter money-spinner rather than a last resort option
  • the degree of pain resulting from the operation and pain management, which is sometimes poor
  • the resulting complications
  • the behavioral consequences such as increased biting
  • the perecentage of declawed cats that are abandoned etc.

The reason why the AVMA does not want to commission a fresh, conclusive study is because it will conclude that declawing should be stopped for many reasons, the most obvious being that it is carried out by their vets not as a last resort option but as a mainstream earner.

The idea that the science of declawing cats is “divisive” is absurd. The reason why the science is divisive is because a lot of it is poor, inadequate and biased.

The time for a proper, objective study is long overdue. It would prove, once and for all, that declawing cats is cruel, unnecessary, a veterinary money-spinner and counter productive in respect of benefiting the human-cat relationship.

4 thoughts on “National Geographic: “Science on Declawing is Divisive””

  1. No the AVMA don’t want any conclusive research done on declawing because they know it is cruel and wrong. Even though their guidelines are that it should be a last resort for serious scratching behaviour, they turn a blind eye to vets advertising declawing with discount or neuter/declaw packages for young kittens!
    Declaw vets like to please their clients who want convenience declawing and fill up their bank accounts by doing that!
    There is never any reason to declaw a cat, if a person can’t kindly and gently train a cat to use a scratching post or pad, then they are not fit to have a cat as a pet.

    • Even the last resort option is wrong and it is abused because it is never done as a last resort. Quite the opposite, declawing is done as the first operation a cat gets with neutering.

  2. How is this controversial? Only for some greedy vets who earn a lot of money from this horrible practice.

    ”Julie Meadows, a professor at the University of California Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital thinks declawing can play a role in protecting the human-animal bond, and in some cases it can keep cats in happy homes”.

    Stupid. Disgusting people. This is not love for cats if you can allow to deform it for your own selfish reasons…

    ”The idea that the science of declawing cats is “divisive” is absurd. The reason why the science is divisive is because a lot of it is poor, inadequate and biased.”

    Agreed. Which science they are talking about? When Smithsonian conducts a study trying to prove that all cats are evil killers and should be euthanized – is this science? When scientists are hired by people who support declawing and create a study that will prove that declawing ”is not that bad”? Everyone can make a bad designed study to prove just about anything. Science is often misused for political agenda. Sometimes science has no play in ethical issues like this. Science can help understand the world around us, the effective treatments, test hypothesis etc. but science is not something we can rely on when speaking about the ethics or morality. Amputating fingers of cats is BAD and no science is going to convince us otherwise. Period.

    • And Julie Meadows is a bloody professor at the University of California Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. What kind of professor is she? The murdering kind 🙂

      There have been lots of studies on declawing but it is fragmented and inadequate. Common sense dictates that a conclusive independent report needs to be compiled but it won’t be, which confirms to me that the vets know they are in the wrong but they can’t give up their money and they have not got the imagination and brains to substitute declawing for something much better: educating the public and finding commercial alternatives that actually support cat welfare not the opposite.


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