Friday, January 23, 2009

A puzzlement

Piercing the ears of cats and selling them on the internet as "gothic kittens" is Animal cruelty

Declawing is not.

Discuss.

CC
who can't really see herself peircing a cat's ears, though she did have an all-black cat in college who wore one of those spiked Johnny Rotten bracelets as a collar. (Vet said that it was ok since it didn't seem to be bothering the cat.)

But is WAY not OK with declawing.

15 comments:

PG said...

She pierced a cat's NECK. And as the anti-declawing link you provided notes, declawing isn't done in the UK (it never was accepted by vets and was specifically outlawed by the 2006 Animal Welfare Act), so there's no internal inconsistency in the animal cruelty law there.

kim said...

What if the jewelry gets caught on something when the cat is climbing or otherwise moving around? It has no hands to free itself.
I think it could be dangerous for the cat.

Chalicechick said...

Assuming the piercing isn't super-strong, it would probably break. Worse case, it slices through the skin and the cat gets a painful injury.

With declawing, the cat gets four painful injuries no matter what.

CC

Chalicechick said...

PG, you're right that the neck piercing was going too far.

CC

hsofia said...

What the hell is wrong with people?

kim said...

Was the a rhetorical question? :-)

kim said...

I meant "Was that a rhetorical question?"

Betsy said...

Personally I think they are both cruel. I think the main difference is that declawing is something some pet owners find it personally convenient, so to resolve the cognitive dissonance between chopping off their pets first knuckle and the fear of destroyed furniture, they mentally classify it as non-cruel.

That sentiment does open the door to a utility argument that would justify declawing in a way that couldn’t be achieved by piercing a cats ears (as there is no utility to be gained in the piercing) but that can be countered by arguing what moral circle you include your pets in. If you view your pet as a member of the household/family (as many people do), then morally you don’t cut off parts of their fingers and toes. If your pet is not a member of the household (e.g., is owned primarily as a mouser) then you don’t do it because it decreases the efficiency of the animal at its job.

In short, if you can’t accept a pet the way their mama made them, don’t get the pet!

PG said...

"If you view your pet as a member of the household/family (as many people do), then morally you don’t cut off parts of their fingers and toes."

Oh, I don't know about that -- circumcising babies for convenience in keeping them clean (as opposed to religious reasons, which open up a separate can of worms) indicates that causing a little pain and a lifelong loss of some bit of the body that one can function fine without are not enough to outweigh convenience even for real family members.

Chalicechick said...

It's not like I've researched the issue, but my impression is that most circumcisions happen these days because the parents think the kid will be most comfortable if he looks like Dad.

CC

Betsy said...

There is significant evidence that male circumcision provides lifelong health benefits, namely a reduced risk of contracting a STI, particularly HIV. This has nothing to do with cleanliness but rather removal of the vulnerable musosal membrane that attaches the foreskin to the penis.

PG said...

CC,
But then how did circumcisions become common among Christians (or really any non-Jews/Muslims) in the first place? Grandparents decided to snip Dad, after all. Also, do most boys see their dads' penises? To my recollection, I never saw the genitalia of my parents -- were we unusually prudish?

(At moments like these, I am reminded that every family is its own country of "normal.")

Betsy,
Circumcision was a majoritarian practice in the U.S. before HIV was known to exist or before the STI benefits had been researched.

Betsy said...

I agree! I would go either further and say that it was in fact the majoritarian practice in some cultures (obviously most notably Jewish culture) for thousands of years. The fact that it's health benefits weren't provable until modern times doesn't negate the positive benefits.

PG said...

Betsy,

Right, but then my point still stands: why were parents, particularly those with no religious motivation, cutting off a piece of their sons' penises before there was any known STI-related benefit? (I feel certain that if I asked Christian parents who circumcised their sons pre-1990 if they had a hunch that it would prevent the boys from getting STDs later on, they'd look at me like I was crazy.)

Cerulean said...

As lasagna-loving feline Garfield pointed out, "Think of how the cat must feel. Imagine going through life unarmed."