Readers Write: Feb. 24

U.S. should ban declawing of cats

I am a feline-exclusive veterinarian for 15 years. I oppose declawing cats and strongly support legislation to ban declawing. It doesn’t matter how well declawing is performed nor how much pain medication is offered — the long-term consequences are similar and damaging to the cat.

This procedure is wrongly perceived as a quick fix for furniture damage; often performed on kittens before they learn appropriate scratching surfaces. Declawing requires amputation of the last bone on each toe. It is painful, can cause chronic pain, infection, lameness, and behavior problems that lead to relinquishment.

Declawing has been banned in eight U.S. cities where statistics show the number of cats relinquished to shelters has decreased. Similarly, the number of cats adopted from shelters has not decreased. Declawing is prohibited or unheard of in most other countries. Why is the U.S. still choosing amputation rather than education about a normal feline behavior?


Lent an opportunity to practice compassion

March 1 marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period preceding Easter, when many Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness before launching his ministry.

The call to refrain from eating animals is as old as the Bible. In Genesis 1:29, God commands humans to eat only plants; then Prophet Isaiah predicts that “none will hurt or destroy on God’s holy mountain.”

A meat-free diet is not just about Christian devotion. Dozens of medical studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer, and other killer diseases. Undercover investigations have documented farm animals being caged, crowded, mutilated, beaten, and shocked.

Lent offers a superb opportunity to honor Christ’s powerful message of compassion, but also to protect the health of our family and our planet Earth by adopting a meat-free diet.


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