The Paw Project, a California-based nonprofit, has created a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) designed to educate the public about the consequences of feline declawing surgery.
The PSA builds on the group’s 2009 campaign, a poster which featured the text “If You’re For De-Clawing Cats, Raise Your Hand” and showed a human hand with each finger severed at the last joint.
The video, which can be viewed on YouTube and is expected to debut on television in February, asks the question, “If you knew what declawing really was, would you still do it?”
Declawing is banned or considered unethical in many countries, but the surgery is regularly performed in the US in order to prevent cats from scratching furniture. Many pet owners believe that declawing is a normal, harmless procedure, when in fact it is very painful and many behaviorist the surgery may cause long-term behavior problems such as litter box avoidance and aggression.
According to Franny Syufy, about.com cats guide, “Declawing is not merely the trimming of the claws. It is the surgical removal of the claws, which are closely adhered to the bone. In order to remove the claw and prevent its regrowth (which sometimes results from incomplete removal), the entire first joint of each of the cat’s “toes” is amputated. This procedure is often likened to amputation of all a human’s fingers to the first knuckle.”
The Paw Projects efforts have led California to ban declawing of captive wild and exotic cats and caused the US Department of Agriculture to forbid its nationwide licensees from de-clawing exotic and wild animals. In 2009, the California cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Burbank, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Beverly Hills and Culver City joined West Hollywood in passing legislation to ban declawing of domestic cats.
“Declawing is one of the most painful surgeries routinely performed by veterinarians, and it can result in serious physical and behavioral complications,” said Jennifer Conrad, DVM, who founded The Paw Project in 2000 to promote public awareness about the crippling effects of declawing, to rehabilitate declawed cats through reparative surgery, and to support measures to eradicate de-clawing.
“We hope that the video imagery serves to illustrate the truth about declawing. Many people don’t know what the surgery entails and this is a case where a picture is worth a thousand words,” Conrad added.
Watch the Paw Project’s video PSA below. Please note that although there is no blood and gore, it could be disturbing to some viewers.