New Jersey is on its way to becoming the first American state that bans the declawing of cats.

A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Troy Singleton was recently passed through an Assembly committee stating that the medical practice of onychetomy would be considered animal cruelty, with the exception of special health reasons like the removal of tumors or gangrene.

“Declawing is a barbaric practice that more often than not is done for the sake of convenience rather than necessity,” according to Singleton’s statement after the hearing. “Many countries worldwide acknowledge the inhumane nature of declawing, which causes extreme pain to cats. It’s time for New Jersey to join them.”

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Animal welfare organizations oppose onychetomy because it’s a painful procedure that is typically done to save furniture while many cats start displaying physical and mental complications in the years following the operation. Over 20 other countries in the world already have declawing bans because it’s considered animal cruelty.

Some pet owners and projects opposed the bill because they believe that the reasons behind such an act is between an animal caregiver and their veterinarian.

However studies show that declawed cats have increased chances of being relinquished to shelters – and thus euthanasia – because of behavioral tendencies that follow declawing, such as soiling the carpet and increased aggression.

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