Scratch misguided legislation that would ban declawing cats

The proposed ban puts the very cats it seeks to protect at risk of abandonment, life in a shelter or euthanasia.

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A “rigid and confusing” bill that would ban cat declawing procedures could ultimately hurt the animals it seeks to protect, writes Joanne Carlson, the president Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association

A “rigid and confusing” bill that would ban cat declawing procedures could ultimately hurt the animals it seeks to protect, writes Joanne Carlson, the president of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association.

The more than 1,800 highly trained and licensed veterinarians who belong to the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association (ISVMA) face difficult, real-life decisions when considering declawing to ensure the well-being of a cat with its well-established family. Veterinarians care deeply about cats and have sworn an oath to protect them.

Cat declawing is not common in Illinois, and ISVMA stands firmly with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, one of the world’s largest humane societies, in asserting that declaw procedures be a last resort.

Yet some Illinois legislators are pushing a declawing ban, removing medical professionals from the decision-making process for pets in their care. The bill (HB1533) is now being considered by the Senate.

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We find the bill’s language rigid and confusing. The importance of maintaining the human-cat bond in situations where the health of a pet’s family member is at risk is dismissed entirely by the bill. Consider an elderly woman whose physician says her fragile skin cannot withstand a scratch from her precious pet or a child newly diagnosed as immunocompromised. Under the proposed declawing bill, those cats would be removed from the only families they’ve ever known.

Further, while proponents maintain the proposed law would allow cats with any physical ailment an exemption to the declaw ban, ISVMA members and legal advisers disagree. One such example is whether a cat with a skin condition that causes it to self-injure through excessive scratching could be declawed. Veterinarians would be left wondering what’s legal and what’s not when a cat’s life hangs in the balance.

When declawing is advised for cat well-being, veterinarians use the utmost care, state-of-the-art surgical practices and highly effective pain medication. The proposed ban puts the very cats it seeks to protect at risk of abandonment, life in a shelter or euthanasia. Please tell your state senator to leave the decisions regarding cat health care to our trusted, local veterinarians — the true animal health experts.

Joanne Carlson, president, Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association

In praise of firefighters

Many times we are heard praising those whose occupations most of us would shy away from. On most occasions, we can also say these people are underpaid, whether we are praising teachers, health care workers or the police. That praise is much deserved.

But after this past week of hearing of so many firefighters being critically injured and even dying, it occurred to me that I don’t think I can remember many of us stopping to say how brave these men and women are and how we would all be in danger without them. They go into highly unpredictable situations that have a high probability of injury and loss.

A hundred years ago, if a fire broke out there were either volunteer workers or you brought out a hose yourself, which most times had devastating outcomes. Let us take a moment to salute these brave men and women who protect us from deadly fires.

Louise Bajorek, Burbank

Limit media coverage on Trump’s court appearances

I am sick of this huge deal made out of Donald Trump’s indictment. The media should stop giving this man all this attention, which is what he craves. TV shows have been interrupted for this nonsense, even showing his motorcade.

Many of us couldn’t care less about this immoral, tax-evading, lying, awful former president who gave this country a black eye before the world. Frankly, all many of us want to see is him in a prison jumpsuit.

That they can show on TV.

Connie Orland, Plainfield

Judging Clarence Thomas

Some people said Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas filled the void left by Thurgood Marshall when Thomas was appointed to Marshall’s vacant seat and became the second Black justice to serve on the highest court in the land. Well, it seems the void left by Marshall was not filled until Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed last year.

Thomas, who has courted controversy since he was nominated, is now in the spotlight for accepting luxury travel from a Republican donor. He is nothing like Marshall or Jackson.

Warren Rodgers Jr., Matteson

Keep working to lower prescription drug prices

It is a positive sign for public health that Illinois is taking steps to help make the costs of prescription drugs lower. The limited access due to cost of medications is not limited to the United States. It is a problem many face worldwide.

In Ethiopia, 54% of physicians reported seeing patients who have died due to lack of resources, including essential medicines and supplies. In Yemen, only half of health facilities are fully functioning, and most lack basic medicines, leaving two-thirds of the population, or 20.1 million people, without access to basic health care.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has been able to see these challenges firsthand during a trip he made to Venezuela. Hospitals there couldn’t maintain basic services, including X-rays and blood tests. HIV patients were unable to get access to their medication for close to four months.

These are problems that are fixable, and I encourage Durbin to keep taking the lead on it. I also hope our senator ensures our government programs set a measurable target for further improvements in the next two years in reducing the stockout rates of essential drugs and medical supplies at service delivery points, and to report on progress toward that target.

Noah Perlman, Skokie

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