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Victory for cat campaigners after New York bans cruel practice

Declawing is now illegal in New York
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Animal welfare campaigners are celebrating after New York became the first US state to impose a ban on cat declawing. The practice, widely seen as animal cruelty in the welfare world, has been banned in the UK for several years already.

By Ashley Murphy, 24 Jul 2019

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill last Monday following years of pressure from kitty lovers across the USA. A statement from the Governor read:

"By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures."

The law comes into effect immediately

The bill was passed by the state assembly last month, but the Governer's approval made it official; the law came into effect immediately.

Declawing is a controversial topic that still splits opinion among the veterinarian community.

Rather than simply clipping a cat's claws, declawing involves partial amputation of the bone, which prevents the claws from growing back.

It's generally used to prevent cats causing damage to household furniture, but experts argue it leads to chronic pain, leg strain, and restricted mobility.

Some other critics, like senate deputy leader Michael Gianaris, go even further, stating that the procedure is comparable to cutting off a human finger at the knuckle and can severely impact a cat's quality of life.One part of the bill reads:

"Cats' claws play an important role in various aspects of their lives. When a person has its animal declawed, usually in an attempt to protect furniture, they do fundamental damage to that animal both physically and in behavioural ways."

The new law does allow exceptions for "therapeutic purposes," or when declawing is beneficial to the cat's health.

Scratch away little kitties

Although New York is the first to impose a ban, other states are set to follow suit. Massachusetts proposed a ban on declawing this year, and the bill will go before a public hearing next week.

Declawing is already illegal in several European countries, including the UK. It was banned on British shores in 2006 under The Animal Welfare Act.