By Justin Begley
Last Tuesday, the New York State Legislature passed Bill No. A01303B, criminalizing the declawing of cats.
The bill states that “No person shall perform an onychectomy (declawing), partial or complete phalangectomy or tendonectomy procedure by any means on a cat within the state of New York, except when necessary for a therapeutic purpose.” Therapeutic purposes include “an existing or recurring illness, infection, disease, injury or abnormal condition in the claw that compromises the cat's health,” according to the bill. However, the bill does not allow declawing for the purposes of aesthetics or convenience.
It also imposes civil penalties for performing declawing procedures that should “not exceed one thousand dollars.” These penalties would seemingly be charged to the veterinarian rather than the cat’s owner.
The Memorandum in Support of Legislation provides the bill’s justification. It suggests that “[when] a person has its animal declawed, usually in an attempt to protect furniture, they do fundamental damage to that animal both physically and in behavioral ways.”
The memo also discusses several potential consequences to the cat’s health following the procedure: “Declawing…involves the removal of all or most of the last bone of each of the toes of the front feet, and tendons, nerves and ligaments that allow for normal function of the paw are severed, resulting in intense and chronic pain and other serious medical issues.” The procedure can allegedly also lead to abscesses, infections, joint pain, and various behavioral issues.
Linda Rosenthal, Assemblywoman of District 67 (Manhattan, NY) and the one of the lead sponsors of the bill, describes the procedure as “unnecessary,” suggesting that “it’s painful and it causes the cat problems…it’s just brutal.” Rosenthal’s motivation for promoting this bill is to hold owners that “think their furniture is more important than their cat” accountable. She hopes the legislation will put an end to this “brutal” procedure.
While the bill still needs to be signed by Governor Cuomo, it is a clear win for cats in New York. If the procedure causes the medical issues that the bill suggests, then this is a good bill. Yet, there is something that is seemingly not right. The same legislators that voted in favor of this bill also voted, just a few months ago, in favor of a bill that expands the most inhumane, brutal procedure: abortion.
Just this past January, New York State passed Bill No. A2876, the Reproductive Health Act, one of the most radically expansive abortion bills in the nation. The bill states that a practitioner can perform an abortion “according to the practitioner’s reasonable and good faith professional judgement based on the facts of the patient’s case: there is an absence of fetal viability or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.”
The bill further states that “no regulation, rule, provision, or law shall be made or implemented that places an undue burden in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.” The bill removes the restriction of 24 weeks, extending the limit up until the point of birth. As long as the women has a practitioner-determined health issue, whether physical, mental, or emotional, a baby’s life can be ended up until he or she exits the womb.
To belabor the evils of this bill would be redundant. But it is worth showing what happens when moral relativism is allowed to seep into society; this is what transpires when the value of life becomes subjective. The bills in New York are demonstrative of the cultural shift that is being led by the secular left who is placing its own definition on morality. These bills reveal that the left is more willing to protect the health of cats than the lives of human babies.
Animals are to be valued dearly, but not to the extent of humans. God says in Matthew 10:19-21, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So, don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” God cares deeply about animals but says that we are more highly valued to Him than any given number of animals.
This is because we are uniquely made in God’s image. Psalm 139:14 suggests that, in God’s image, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” “We have been set apart as holy because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do by sacrificing his body once and for all,” (Hebrews 10:10). As God’s children, the value of our lives is not subjective; we are objectively and absolutely valuable.
Do not let the left fool you into believing that animals are to be valued more greatly than humans. Bill A01303B is a fine bill. If declawing procedures make cats suffer, then this is a good thing. Animals are to be treasured and protected. But it is interesting to watch the same legislators that passed this bill celebrating the killing of the unborn by lighting the Freedom Tower in Manhattan pink. This is a perversion of morality that is a clear devaluing of human life.
The value of human life is objective. Not subjective. The value of an animal’s life should also be objective. But the left wants to suggest that the value of human life is only as great as you say it is. That logic is backwards but has unfortunately found a way into our legal system.
But there is hope. The pro-life movement is growing every day. There have been several state heartbeat bills and abortion bans passed with more to come. The tide is turning and those who believe the value of human life is subjective will be left behind.