Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association bans Declawing of cats starting in March of 2018
If you own a cat and live in the province of Nova Scotia, you have until March 15 2018 to decide whether or not you want your furry feline declawed or not.
The debate whether cats should be declawed or not has been raging for years with people pro cat, believing that the act of removing a cat’s claws is not only painful, but inhumane as by doing so, the cat loses a key method of defending itself against attack from other animals.
“There are behavioural issues that cats have with regards to declawing,” Dr. Paul Kendall, the medical director of the Halifax Veterinary Hospital, told CTV Atlantic in an interview. “It can be very painful, and the research shows that there may be some long-term consequences.”
Advocates for declawing however, disagree and believe that if the procedure is conducted properly, there is no pain for the animal.
Many cat owners choose to have their cats declawed as their little daggers can destroy furniture, carpet and walls and are most definitely dangerous when it comes to other household pets and young children.
Owners of indoor cats are especially pro when it comes to having their cats declawed, as if their cats never go outside, then there is no reason for them to ever have to defend themselves.
Veterinary Medical Association amends their code of ethics
This week, the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association amended their code of ethics to ban the unnecessary removal of cat claws in a move that is in line with the world wide movement to put an end to this practise.
This means that in the province, after March 15 2018, cat owners will be unable to have their cats declawed.
Starting immediately there will be a 3-month “educational period” in which veterinarians will inform cat owners that come into their clinics of the pending change.
Nova Scotia becomes the first province in Canada to take such a stand, and joins other countries including the U.K. and Australia who have already banned the act of declawing cats.
“It’s a great day. I’m so proud of the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association,” said Dr. Hugh Chisholm, a retired veterinarian and Atlantic Canada director for the Paw Project.
“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,” he said.
Chisholm states that now that Nova Scotia has taken steps to ban the practice, he will now be contacting other provincial veterinary associations to encourage them to follow suit.
“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 said.
Fewer vets are pushing for the declawing of family cats
According to Dr. Frank Richardson, registrar of the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association, over the last 20 years, veterinarians have been less and less willing to carry out cat declawing and if the issue was not actually addressed, the act of declawing cats would probably simply fade away on its own.
“The number is getting smaller and smaller each year. I think if we did nothing it would die off on its own,” he said.
this amendment has been a long time coming and follows extensive research into whether or not this move would be viable and accepted.
Richardson states that many different veterinarians were consulted and the public had their chance to weigh in on the issue.
Veterinarians will however be able to declaw cats in cases where the cat is injured or there is infection present.
“Those would be very rare cases, but yes 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. To do it because you’re worried your sofa is going to get picked or scratched is just wrong,” Chisholm said.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca