We believe and assert that:
1. That declawing of cats is a radical, inhumane, elective surgery consisting of 10 or 18 amputations, intended to solve a perceived behavior problem.
2. That declawing deprives cats of essential body parts by amputating the last bone of every toe (most commonly 10 on the front paws, sometimes also the 8 on the back paws).
3. That cats suffer chronic physical pain and emotional damage due to declawing.
4. That there are many reasonable, humane alternatives to declawing that will work for any cat with only a small amount of effort and expense to the guardian.
5. That because veterinarians have failed to abide by their own ethical guidelines, and because they have consistently failed to tell the truth about declawing, legislation is necessary.
Under the federal Animal Welfare Act, declawing of exotic carnivores is prohibited on the grounds of cruelty. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) condemns the declawing of exotic cats, yet condones the same surgery on pet cats.
However, the AVMA policy on declawing specifically states that it has no medical benefit for the cat, and should be done only after extensive counseling, and after all other behavioral alternatives have been exhausted. Unfortunately, many Colorado veterinarians fail to abide by this policy; the vast majority of cats are declawed as kittens under the age of 1 year, and often much younger--which means that there has not been time to try any of the many humane alternatives.
Veterinarians will no doubt strongly object to legislation that will restrict their practice in any way. However, the Colorado State Legislature is well within its rights to define animal cruelty, regardless of who commits the act. Because veterinarians have widely ignored AVMA's policy by consistently failing to properly educate their clients on the nature of the procedure and the many potential complications, and by declawing kittens before any alternatives have been attempted, legislation is the only choice.
Please ban the declawing of cats and other pets in the great State of Colorado.