Inhumane Surgeries: Should They Be Legal?

Imagine you wake up in a room you’ve never seen before. You look down and your fingers are cut off at the last knuckle. You try to speak, but you can only make a small noise. You start to panic, but when you try to get up, your hands, lower back, and throat burn. This is how a dog or cat would feel after getting debarked, declawed or docked, or all three. Debarking is an invasive surgical procedure that involves removing a large amount of tissue in a dog’s throat. Declawing is an operation to remove a cat’s claws surgically. If this was done on a human, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle. Docking is the removal of portions of an animal’s tail. The most popular reason for docking dogs is to prevent injury to working dogs. But sometimes, tails are cut off or shortened for cosmetic reasons to make dogs look ‘better’ or ‘nicer’. These three surgeries go against animal rights, they’re extremely painful, and they can cause more harm than good.

Declawing, debarking, and docking go against animal rights. John Sorenson, who is an emeritus professor of anthropology at BYU (Brigham Young University) wrote a book titled animal rights, it states that “Although many Canadians love and care for pets, others consider animals disposable. Partly, this reflects disappointment and failures with capitalism’s magic system when advertised benefits are contradicted by pet-ownership. Owners may wish to avoid paying medical care, many find responsibilities of caring too time-consuming or may wish to replace unfashionable pets with trendier models.” When someone debarks, docks, or declaws a dog or cat, they are finding ways to avoid problems that come with owning a pet, but if they want to avoid the problems, they were clearly not prepared for a pet in the first place.

Sometimes, when a dog or cat gets one of these surgeries done, the results are much worse than what would have happened if they didn’t get the surgery done in the first place. In the Criminal Code of Canada, under Cruelty to Animals, Section 445.1(1) it states that “Everyone commits an offence who wilfully causes or, being the owner, wilfully permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or a bird.” If a pet owner debarks, declaws, or docks their dog or cat they are neglecting this right. Some of these surgeries are illegal in many countries, such as Israel, Switzerland, England, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, the United Kingdom, parts of Europe and some provinces in Canada. Animal rights are there for a reason. For example, in the United Kingdom, if someone ignores or disobeys them, they could serve 51 weeks in jail. Some people may think or say that animal rights don’t matter, but they are that were made to protect animals and avoid mistakes that were made in the past. Unfortunately, these “mistakes” are still being made.

All three of these surgeries are very painful. When a dog gets debarked, its throat usually becomes inflamed and it’s very painful. One of the many long-term risks of debarking is the formation of excessive scar tissue in the area, which could cause chronic coughing, difficulty or noisy breathing, and/or exercise intolerance. People that support tail docking claim that it does not cause pain to puppies because their nervous systems are not fully developed, but this isn’t true because a dog is born with a fully developed nervous system. Docking is extremely painful, and the dog’s tail doesn’t heal properly. After getting declawed, a cat’s nails can grow back inside the paw, which causes extreme pain, but most people that get their cat declawed don’t know this.

Many veterinarian refuse to declaw cats because they know that it is cruel and has no benefits to cats. Although many people say it only hurts for a few days or weeks, when you amputate a cat’s toe bone, the cat is going to shift back when it walks and it’s might get chronic back pain or chronic arthritis. All these surgeries cause unnecessary pain and are avoidable. The RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention Of Cruelty to Animals) states that “Many hunting dogs do not have docked tails, and the length of the tail in docked breeds varies according to the breed standard. The excuses put forward to support tail docking are plainly unfounded. There is simply no excuse for reviving this painful tradition.” The way an animal looks doesn’t give you an excuse to hurt it.

These surgeries can cause more harm than good. Dr. Darrell Dalton, a registrar with the ABVMA (Alberta Veterinary Medical Association), said that there’s no scientific reason for these surgeries. “They’re medically unnecessary, they cause unnecessary pain to the animal, and it’s inhumane,” Dr. Dalton said. Some breed clubs have certain standards that include cropped ears and docked tails, but Dr. Dalton said that this isn’t justification to do these surgeries. Some of these surgeries are done on working dogs to prevent injury, but it’s completely unnecessary for a pet. There is a big difference between cosmetic procedures and ones that are done to prevent injury. After doing any of these surgeries, in some cases, people say that the cat or dog went right back to acting normal, but in other cases, people say that their pet has woken up howling in pain. A few hours after the surgery, the dog or cat could start bleeding again, or destroy the gauze and stitches because they don’t know what happened or it hurts a lot, and after this, they would most likely need more surgery to close up the area again. In conclusion, these surgeries are more unhelpful than helpful. So, do we really need these inhumane surgeries?

In conclusion, docking, declawing, and debarking are very painful, cause more problems than they avoid, and disobey many animal rights. Most are illegal in Israel, England, Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, parts of Europe, and some provinces in Canada. These surgeries should only be done if there is a medical reason. If you or anyone you know is considering to get one of these surgeries done on their dog or cat, send them this article and give them some reasons about how bad and unnecessary these surgeries are.