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Quebec Plans To Ban Cat Declawing & Other Non-Therapeutic Procedures Performed On Pets

The government is responding to a petition that got over 21,000 signatures.

Contributing Writer
Cat on a sidewalk in front of typical Montreal apartment stairs.

Cat on a sidewalk in front of typical Montreal apartment stairs.

After receiving a petition from Quebecers, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) plans to propose changing the rules surrounding cosmetic procedures performed on house pets. The rule change would ban non-preventive and non-therapeutic procedures for companion animals.

Minister André Lamontagne plans to present the full proposal in the summer of 2022.

Banned procedures will include declawing, ear cropping, tail docking, and devocalization. Declawing involves amputating the last bone on a cat's toes, which brings with it medical issues throughout the cat's life.

Ear cropping and tail docking are typically performed on certain breeds of dogs for aesthetic purposes. And devocalization is when parts of all of the vocal cords are removed from a cat or dog to prevent meowing or barking.

When you get down to the nitty-gritty, it's pretty grisly stuff to do to a furry friend for non-therapeutic reasons.

The rule change still will still make room for such procedures for medical purposes if they're recommended by a vet. For example, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) recognizes that in some cases declawing, or partial digit amputation (PDA), can be used to treat "severe or irreversible trauma" or infections.

"BYE-BYE ARCHAIC PRACTICES! HELLO RESPECT FOR ANIMALS!" wrote Alexandra Yaksich, the animal health technician who spearheaded the petition, on Instagram on March 16.

The petition received 21,652 signatures before being presented to the National Assembly on February 2.

The decision to ban the practices follows MAPAQ consultations with the Ordre des médecins vétérinaires du Quebec (OMVQ), the (CVMA), Anima-Québec and the Société protectrice des animaux de Québec (SPA de Québec) and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in December 2021.

"I have never been more proud to have started such a grassroots movement, and so proud to see the massive support on this from such a wide variety of professions and people," Yaksich wrote on Instagram. "We challenged the status quo, and we did it with the utter conviction that can only arise when it comes from the heart."

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