Home 4 the Holidays
News and headlines for November 20 - November 26, 2022
These are some of the stories making headlines in animal protection:
Allentown became the second city in Pennsylvania to make it illegal to declaw cats. It joins other cities and states nationwide — including New York and Maryland — to ban the inhumane procedure.
Studies show that declawed cats are at significantly greater risk for back pain, not using the litter box, aggression (scratching/biting), and excessive grooming (barbering). In addition, they are at even greater risk for pain from bone fragments left due to “poor or inappropriate surgical techniques,” which occurs in 63% of the cases.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, studies also show that banning the practice does not lead to cats losing their homes: “owners are able to manage normal scratching behavior and retain cats in their homes without needing to resort to onychectomy [declawing].”
A Federal Court dismissed a lawsuit claiming the federal ban on cockfighting violates the historical traditions of U.S. territories, such as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Court ruled that,
[T]he federal interests in regulating interstate commerce, preventing the spread of avian flu, and ensuring the humane treatment of animals outweigh the degree of intrusion into the internal affairs of the CNMI as it relates to the tradition of cockfighting.
The argument by plaintiff — a self-proclaimed “lifelong cockfighter” — that local traditions trump federal law is absurd. A history of animal oppression does not justify it going forward. Indeed, the last two centuries of human history have witnessed the widespread rejection of many abusive practices in terms of our relationships, including racism, sexism, and other discrimination. Likewise when it comes to animals, neither people nor animals need be prisoners of an unjust and misguided past.
While cultural rituals may be important, they do not deserve deference when involving animal abuse. As one commentator noted, “All our societies evolve as a matter of necessity and this means customs that are cruel and unacceptable may be among those to go.” Moreover, “the Constitution empowers Congress to ‘make all needful rules and regulations respecting [a] territory.’”
To that end, several U.S. lawmakers recently introduced federal legislation to strengthen the law that makes cockfighting a felony in all 50 states and U.S. territories. H.R. 9309 would outlaw online gambling on animal fights, ban shipping adult roosters through the U.S. mail, and enable citizens to file civil actions against known dogfighters and cockfighters.