Veterinarians in British Columbia will no longer be permitted to declaw cats, after the province’s College of Veterinarians banned the practice.
The College of Veterinarians is the self-regulatory body for the veterinary profession, and sets standards of practice that vets must follow. At a meeting on May 4, 2018 the College passed a motion prohibiting veterinarians from declawing domestic cats, unless medically necessary to treat a condition. A veterinarian who performs the amputation can now be investigated and disciplined.
This is incredible progress for our feline friends! Declawing is also known as “partial digit amputation” because it’s not just the claw that’s removed—the cat’s last toe bone is sliced or lasered off at the knuckle. Amputation is torture for cats, and can cause paw pain, infection, nerve damage, lameness, and back problems for sensitive kitties.
British Columbia follows in the footsteps of the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association, which was the first to ban the cruel and unnecessary practice earlier this year. Declawing bans are also common in other jurisdictions like Australia, New Zealand, the UK, parts of Europe, and many Californian cities.
In the new practice standard, the College recognized that “elective and non-therapeutic declawing is ethically problematic and that it is not an appropriate means of dealing with feline behaviour issues”. The College also makes clear that a cat guardian’s preferences or convenience is no excuse for the painful procedure, stating, “No medical conditions or environmental circumstances of the cat owner justify the declawing of domestic cats.”
Animal Justice celebrates this progress for cats, and supports introducing federal legislation banning cat declawing across Canada.
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