The province of Nova Scotia passed strong new animal protection legislation this week, becoming the first province in the country to make cat declawing illegal. The new laws also put an end to tail docking, ear cropping, devocalizing dogs, and other cruel and unnecessary cosmetic surgeries on companion animals.
Nova Scotia’s veterinary association amended its code of ethics to prevent vets from declawing cats. The new provincial law passed this week is an even stronger measure, as it makes cat declawing illegal across the province for both animal guardians and veterinarians. Those who declaw cats or otherwise mutilate animals for cosmetic reasons could face up to six months in jail and a $25,000 fine for a first offence.
The new legislation also gives provincial animal welfare inspectors enhanced powers to inspect facilities where animals are being used, and powers to demand that a person produce an animal so inspectors can ensure the animal’s well-being.
Countries and jurisdictions around the world are banning unnecessary cosmetic surgeries on animals, a position supported by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. In Canada, it’s now illegal to crop dogs’ ears and tails in PEI and Nova Scotia. Veterinary associations in British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick also prohibit vets from performing the practice. British Columbia veterinarians are also barred from declawing cats, and Manitoba veterinarians are considering banning the practice.
Despite a growing consensus that mutilating animals for human aesthetic preferences should be outlawed, the so-called “breed standards” published by the Canadian Kennel Club still call for dogs’ body parts to be sliced off. Many dog breeders will attach tight elastic bands to the tails of newborn puppies, cutting off blood flow and killing the appendage. Dog breeders fought against the Nova Scotia legislation so they could continue to cut off dogs’ tails and ears to fit artificial breed standards.
Animal Justice applauds the Nova Scotia government for passing this landmark legislation!
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