PAW PROJECT RESPONSE TO COLORADO VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION’S SUPPORT OF DECLAWING
THE PAW PROJECT·SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2017
The Colorado Veterinary Medical Association opposes the proposed Denver Anti-Declaw ordinance. Here’s what they say (with our responses in CAPS and BOLD):
CVMA: We support the principle that complex veterinary decisions rightfully belong in the domain of the owner and the veterinarian. We support owners and veterinarians having well-informed discussions and making thoughtful, appropriate decisions about declawing.
WHY DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD BE A “CHOICE” TO PERFORM A PROCEDURE THAT IS CONSIDERED TO BE “UNNECESSARY,” “INHUMANE,” AND A “MUTILATION” BY YOUR WELL-EDUCATED VETERINARY COLLEAGUES IN OTHER COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD?
CVMA: We support vigorous education of cat owners and landlords about non-surgical ways to manage scratching.
PLEASE SHOW US HOW YOU ARE ENSURING THAT THIS IS DONE IN COLORADO. WE CAN GIVE YOU MANY EXAMPLES OF HOW YOUR MEMBERS WILL DECLAW CATS, ON DEMAND, WITHOUT EVEN A CONSULTATION.
CVMA: We support the continuing, dramatic decline in declawing – which nowadays is rarely offered in a “spay/neuter package”
PLEASE PROVIDE US EVIDENCE OF DECLINE IN DECLAWING. ALL CURRENT PUBLISHED EVIDENCE IN PEER REVIEWED JOURNALS SHOW THERE HAS NOT BEEN A DECREASE. THIS IS A QUOTE FROM A RECENT ARTICLE IN THE JOURNAL, VETERINARY ANAESTHESIA AND ANALGESIA, “Based on the results of this study, the percentage of cats seen in veterinary practices that have been declawed has changed little in the past decade.”
CVMA: We support the use of modern surgical methods, advanced equipment, and effective pain management in all veterinary procedures
THIS MISSES THE POINT COMPLETELY. THE EFFECTS OF DECLAWING ARE LIFELONG AND INDEPENDENT OF TECHNIQUE AND PAIN MANAGEMENT USED. RESEARCH BY DR. NICOLE MARTELL-MORAN PUBLISHED IN THE PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL OF FELINE MEDICINE AND SURGERY EARLIER THIS YEAR, CONCLUDED: “Declawing increases the risk of long-term or persistent pain, manifesting as unwanted behaviors such as inappropriate elimination (soiling/urinating outside of the litter box) and aggression/biting. This is not only detrimental to the cat (pain is a major welfare issue and these behaviors are common reasons for relinquishment of cats to shelters) but also has health implications for their human companions, as cat bites can be serious.”
DR. ROBIN DOWNING, A COLORADO VETERINARIAN AND INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED EXPERT IN PAIN MANAGEMENT STATES, “… we know from pain physiology that when we sever a nerve there is a very high risk of creating an ongoing, self-perpetuating pain state called “neuropathic pain”. … we know quite well the unremitting torture they endure each and every day – – tingling, burning, electric-like pulsed pain, pins and needles. We also know … Feline toe amputation forever alters the biomechanics of the cat’s feet, as well as the rest of the body. When a cat is subjected to toe amputation, in addition to having the last bone of the toe removed, all of the surrounding tendons and ligaments that attach to that bone are severed. This changes the architecture of the feet, thus changing the biomechanics of how the feet work.”
CVMA: We support the use of data and research for thoughtful, effective animal welfare policymaking
THEN PLEASE RESPOND TO THE DATA WE HAVE PROVIDED, AND PLEASE SHOW US DATA (YOU HAVE NOT…BECAUSE IT DOES NOT EXIST) THAT PROVES DECLAWING IS A SAFE AND EFFECTIVE TREATMENT THAT IS BENEFICIAL TO CATS.
CVMA: And finally, we support the human-animal bond, through which people and animals experience the unique joys and benefits of these special relationships
WE DO NOT THINK THE HUMAN-ANIMAL BOND IS ENHANCED IN ANY WAY BY DECLAWING. WE DO NOT BELIEVE DECLAWING SAFE CATS FROM BEING RELINQUISHED AND KILLED IN SHELTERS. A DECLAW BAN HAS BEEN IN EFFECT IN LOS ANGELES SINCE 2009. LOS ANGELES, WITH A POPULATION OF 4 MILLION, IS THE SECOND LARGEST CITY IN THE US. THE GENERAL MANAGER OF LOS ANGELES ANIMAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT, BRENDA BARNETTE, IS A STAUNCH ADVOCATE OF DECLAW BANS AND WRITES, “Opponents to anti-declaw legislation often speculate there will be a deluge of cats coming into the public shelter system if legal declawing is not available. This emotional claim is not supported by the hard statistics gathered by the Los Angeles Animal Services Department”, WHICH FOUND A 43.3% REDUCTION IN OWNER-SURRENDERED CATS TO THE CITY SHELTERS WHEN COMPARING THE FIVE YEARS BEFORE AND THE FIVE YEARS AFTER THE DECLAW BAN WENT INTO EFFECT. IN THE OTHER CITIES WITH DECLAW BANS, REDUCTIONS OF CAT RELINQUISHMENT TO THE SHELTERS WAS ALSO SEEN, WITH FIGURES RANGING FROM 6.5% TO 38.8%. IN THE SAME PERIOD OF TIME, LOS ANGELES SAW ITS CAT ADOPTION RATE NEARLY DOUBLE. MS. BARNETTE SAYS, “I attribute the decrease in relinquishment … of cats to our shelters to the decrease in behavior problems, particularly biting and litter box avoidance, that are widely recognized to be reasons for cats to be surrendered to shelters. We at Los Angeles Animal Services Department strongly believe that a ban on declawing saves the lives of cats.”
SARAH SWANTY, CAWA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE FORT COLLINS CAT RESCUE STATES, “One piece of data that I do think is very important is that in over 14,000 adoptions by FCCRSNC over the last 11.5 years, my staff can’t seem to remember more than one cat being returned to our shelter because the owner didn’t have the option to declaw (our adoption contract states that they cannot declaw). If this were an issue at the level the opposition is presenting it to be, we would have regular returns of cats because the adopter wants to declaw and we won’t let them.”
Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, please do the right and humane thing…be on the right side of history…support this ordinance.
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