The College of Veterinarians of B.C. has voted to ban cat declawing, following an outcry by animal advocate groups.
The change to the provincial standard of practice makes B.C. the second jurisdiction in the country to ban cat declawing, after Nova Scotia. It is also banned in Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Brazil, the United Kingdom, parts of Europe and some cities in California.
In a statement Tuesday, the college said it “recognizes that elective and non-therapeutic declawing is ethically problematic and that it is not an appropriate means of dealing with feline behaviour issues.”
In January, the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals urged the province to follow in Nova Scotia’s footsteps and implement the ban.
In 2017, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association released a position statement last year opposing feline declawing as an “ethically unacceptable” practice.
The college said that amendments to section 52 of the Veterinarians Act will include exceptions where it says that “partial or full digit amputation” is necessary, including for biopsy to determine a diagnosis, injuries to the nail that cannot be fixed or reversed and fungal infections.
However, no medical conditions or environmental circumstances of the cat owner justify the declawing of domestic cats, the college said.
B.C.’s legislation allows for the college to investigate and impose disciplinary action on veterinarians who do not follow the provincial standard of practice.