New USDA info sheet on declawing/defanging of exotics
Information Sheet on Declawing and Tooth Removal
(Issued in August 2006)
Declawing or the removal of the canine teeth (fangs) in wild or exotic carnivores or nonhuman primates is no longer considered to be appropriate veterinary careunless prescribed by the attending veterinarian for treatment of individual medical problems of the paws or teeth. These procedures are no longer considered to be acceptable when performed solely for handling or husbandry purposes since they can cause considerable pain and discomfort to the animal and may result in chronic health problems. These procedures are no longer allowed under the Animal Welfare Act. This notice is consistent with the current position statement issued by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
What animals does this apply to?
This applies to all regulated nonhuman primates and captive wild or exotic carnivores, including, but not limited to, big cats, canid species, and bears.
Who does this apply to?
This policy applies to all AWA licensees (breeders, dealers, and exhibitors) and registrants (research facilities).
What does this mean to the licensee or registrant?
All AWA licensees must no longer routinely perform these procedures (declawing and removal of canine teeth) on their wild or exotic carnivores and nonhuman primates. Continuing to routinely use these procedures may subject the licensee to citation for noncompliance with the AWA, and may result in enforcement action. Treatment of individual animals with documented medical problems as prescribed by the attending veterinarian is not subject to these restrictions. Registrants may use such procedures only as part of a research protocol that has been reviewed and approved by the IACUC at the institution.
What about animals have already been declawed or defanged?
Facilities with animals that have been subjected to these procedures prior to the issuance date of this notification will not be found in noncompliance with this provision since these procedures cannot be undone.