Courtesy of Shane and Sia Barbi
The Barbi Twins, made infamous in the 90's for their record-breaking Playboy covers, top-selling calendars and their E! True Hollywood Story documentary have now retired to become full-time animal activists. Their newest and most urgent animal campaign is a nationwide ban on the painful practice of declawing cats.
This past Friday, the city of Los Angeles voted to ban the practice of Onychectomy, the medical term for declawing. The movement is spreading nationwide as towns and cities become aware of the facts behind the inhumane practice.
"In a perfect world, my sister and I would like less government involvement, but the government must step in for those who have no voice and in this case, the animals need that help," said Shane. "When big business interferes and comes in and tries to profit from cruel practices on animals, then we have to stop their actions,” added Sia.
Reportedly, veterinarians advise declawing of animals for owners who have poor immune systems. The idea of course, is to reduce any accidental scratches to the skin.
Case in point, at a recent Malibu City Council meeting, Mayor Andrew Stern spoke out against a cat declaw ban. Mayor Stern explained that he had his cat declawed because of his wife’s medical condition. It was that, or “the cat would have gone to a shelter.”
"Most people don't realize that the declawing of cats is a cruel amputation of a cat's 'fingers' or 'toes' which can increase crippling of the animal by as much as 50%," Sia said.
As a result, declawed cats have shown an increase in behavioral problems, biting and unwanted marking of furniture and carpets. Many owners claim that when their natural primary defense is taken away by declawing, aggressive behavior quickly follows and some cats even stop using their litter box because of the initial pain.
But fighting against an industry, where individual vet clinics can net $100,000 a year from this procedure alone, is a difficult proposition. It is a battle which involves educating the public with facts and studies. Even the USDA has recently banned declawing of big cats (tigers, lions, etc.) as an inhumane and cruel practice.
The United States has no broad laws banning declawing of small cats, while 20 other countries, including Brazil, Japan, Israel and most of Europe have outlawed the practice on pets.
"Compassionate people are trying to move ahead of this movement to ban the declawing of cats city by city before the SB 762 Bill becomes a law," said Shane. "People are responding. There are already cities outside California, like Norfolk, Virginia, passing laws against declawing.”
The veterinarian associations are working to pass a law prohibiting any interference in regards to the surgical practice of declawing on January 1, 2010. The Barbi twins urge people to call their local and state representatives to push for legislature and prevent this state bill to stop the declawing of animals.
"Contrary to what many believe, declawed cats are the pets usually abandoned because owners who choose their furniture's well-being over their cat's, will rarely put up with behavioral issues brought on by the declawing," Shane stated.
Sia added that it doesn't matter if you own a goat, a horse, or a hamster. “Ask your vet if they declaw, that way you can tell if your vet is ethical since declawing is a cruel amputation illegal in most countries around the world.”
For more information go to www.pawproject.org to find out which cities need support, which cities are voting on the issue now, and learn which ones have been successful.
Also visit the site of the Barbi Twins at: http://thekittyliberationfront.org/