OPINION: Americans need to speak out against declawing

The bill to make New York the first state to ban cat declawing, indicates to me that there are indeed some Americans who put the interests of the animals above those of their owners.

OPINION: By DENNIS TURNER on DEC 21, 2015 | The views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect the views of Animals Australia.

Cats need and use their claws for various tasks: quick changes of direction when running, climbing (for example, up trees to escape dogs chasing them), scratching their coats and ears and for defense in conflicts with other cats, dogs and overly active children.

Declawing cats is considered to be cruel and is forbidden by the animal protection laws in many European countries. Far too many American veterinarians have not frowned upon this surgical procedure, nor have they frowned on "debarking dogs" or surgically cutting the main olfactory nerve to the brain, therefore removing the cat's ability to smell, as a last resort for urine marking cats.

Over-breeding and the breeding of extreme forms, many with inherent health problems is an additional issue. It seems as if some people are willing to do anything to please their own whims, make a pet that perfectly fits into their lifestyle and disrespect the consequences for the quality of life of the animal in question. And this in a country that purports to champion animal welfare.

Of course many do, but it's time that all Americans learn to respect the dignity and intrinsic value of their animal companions without "changing them" to accommodate its wishes and lifestyle. Animals are sentient beings and not simply "property."

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