Nova Scotia is the first province in Canada to ban the declawing of cats. As CBC News reports, the decision was made by the Nova Scotia Veterinary medical Association and was announced in December. It took effect on March 15, 2018.
Said retired veterinarian Hugh Chisholm, who has banned the practice for years: “I see declawing as a mutilation of an animal for no direct benefit to the animal. It’s something that’s done mostly to protect furniture.”
When a cat’s claws are removed, it requires the amputation of bones in the cat’s paws. This can sometimes lead to lifelong challenges, including arthritis and pain in the paws and limbs. The practice also changes the way the animal walks. “It would be the equivalent to you taking a very sharp knife and cutting off your finger at the last knuckle joint,” Chisholm said.
The U.K., Europe, Australia and several California cities have already banned the practice. Other provinces in Canada are now considering the ban, as well. Because the law prohibits declawing, any veterinarian caught performing the procedure could face strict punishment. This could include loss of license and practice.
The move is not without controversy. Bedford veterinarian Jeff Goodall, for instance, proposes that in rare situations, a declawing could be necessary. Goodall said the people with “a disorder or disease that would make them not heal properly from an accidental scratch,” or taking “medication that depressed their immune systems, like chemotherapy,” would be at risk.
The veterinarian also argued that a declawing could be necessary if a feline was performing self-mutilation. He had such a case once. “It would scratch itself to the point of harm. Once we performed the declaw, we could manage the case with behaviour medication,” Goodall recalled. A final argument by the veterinarian is the pet owners will leave the province to have their cat declawed. Elsewhere, more primitive forms of surgery might be used.
Chisholm dismisses these concerns. He says, “There will always be people who will do it, there will always be people who will want it done, unless there’s a ban in place,” Chisholm said. “That’s why we do need the ban. Because one declaw is one too many.”
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Source: CBC News
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