This Is The First Time A Canadian Province Has Declared Declawing Illegal
A few Canadian cats are breathing a collective sigh of relief after unnecessary declawing was declared illegal in Nova Scotia.
The province is the first in Canada to ban the practice, setting an unprecedented benchmark for feline compassion in North America. The Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association will mark the change in its code of ethics on March 15, 2018, Global News reports, officially making the elective and non-therapeutic declawing of cats an ethically unacceptable choice.
Prior to the change in the rulebook, the NSVMA will administer a 3-month education period to make sure the message is clear.
Declawing cats causes the animals a great deal of pain and suffering. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation maintains that surgical declawing is not a medically necessary procedure in most cases. And, when infection and pain is not managed properly during or after the painful extraction process, the cat is at risk of further injury, illness, or even death.
Knowing this, it comes as no surprise that cat advocates across Canada are cheering for the motion.
“It’s a great day. I’m so proud of the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association,” Dr. Hugh Chisholm, a retired veterinarian and Atlantic Canada director for the Paw Project told Global News. “You are amputating 10 bones from 10 digits on the paws of a cat, and if that doesn’t constitute mutilation, I don’t know what does.”
Nova Scotia’s declawing ban is a first for Canada, but it’s not the first in North America. Los Angeles and San Francisco, among other cities in California, were the first to implement cat declawing bans in the United States. Denver banned elective declawing in November of 2017. The U.K., Europe, and Australia have also enacted bans on the practice.
“Now that we have this success in Nova Scotia, I will be contacting the other provincial veterinary associations to encourage them to do the same thing. I think it’s just a matter of time,” Chisholm told Global News.
Declawing has long been offered as a remedy against scratches on furniture and forearms, but the reality is that much greater harm and distress is inflicted upon the cat. Scratching is not a delinquent behavior in cats but rather a sign of happiness, a method of marking territory, and a way of waking up from a nap, the Humane Society reports.
In other words, it’s a natural part of being a cat and shouldn’t be punished with brutal surgical procedures.
“If it is in the cat’s best interest to have a claw removed or a few claws removed because of trauma or infection, then yes, it is the right thing to do,” Chisholm told Global News of cases when declawing would be appropriate. “To do it because you’re worried your sofa is going to get picked or scratched is just wrong.”
Declawing cats is sadly a very common occurrence in the United States. According to the Humane Society for the United States, the practice is banned in Europe, Australia, Japan, and 21 other countries. Despite the international consensus against it, American cats are subjected to this barbaric act.
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