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 Thursday, 23 January, 2003, 02:55 GMT
Hollywood cats to regain clawing rights
Cats' claws can damage furniture
Animal lovers say de-clawing is cruel
Councillors in West Hollywood have voted unanimously in favour of a draft ruling outlawing the de-clawing of cats.

If the draft goes on to be adopted the city, which lies in the Los Angeles area, would be the first in the United States to ban the practice.

I was abhorred at what I had done to lovely Fluffy

Councilman John Duran
In making their decision the councillors agreed with the view of animal rights activist that removing cats' claws is inhumane.

The tips of the cats toes are also removed along with the claws, activists say.

"The council adopted the resolution by a 5-0 majority so we can now look into the practicalities of how to ban de-clawing," a council official said.

Necessary defence

City Councilman John Duran, who has had the claws removed from several of his own cats in the past, proposed the ban after learning that it was a surgical procedure that did not just remove the cat's claws.

"I was abhorred at what I had done to lovely Fluffy," Mr Duran said.

"It's the equivalent of removing a knuckle off of a human finger. Had I known that, I would have sought alternatives," he added.

Cat owners often have their pets claws removed to prevent them from damaging furniture or injuring people.

But animal rights activists argue not only does the procedure cause unnecessary pain, but cats also need their claws to defend themselves and to climb trees and other high obstacles if they are chased.

Thirteen European nations have outlawed already banned de-clawing cats.

West Hollywood is known as a liberal area and home to much of Los Angeles gay community. It has already adopted a resolution stating that people cannot own pets, but simply become their "guardians".

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13 Apr 02 | Americas
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