Medically Unnecessary Procedures

Medically Unnecessary Procedures


Position statement:

Humane Canada™ is opposed to the alteration of companion animals by surgical or other invasive methods for cosmetic reasons, competitive reasons or behavioural reasons. This does not include procedures performed by a licenced veterinarian to alleviate suffering or to improve welfare.


Such procedures do not benefit the animal and are detrimental to the animal’s health and welfare. As with any surgery, these procedures also expose the animal to the risk of anaesthetic and possible complications. Examples of procedures include:

  • tail alternations (canine or equine)
  • ear cropping
  • cosmetic piercing, dentistry and tattooing
  • debarking (devocalization)
  • declawing (partial digital amputation)

Humane Canada™ encourages breed associations to change their breed standards so that cosmetic procedures are not required.

Spaying and neutering, as well as permanent identification (using the recommended least invasive method) for the purpose of returning lost animals to their guardians, are exempted from this position due to the associated welfare benefits to individual animals and overall community animal management.

Partial digital amputation (also known as declawing) is the surgical removal of the third phalanx of each digit. Non-therapeutic PDA is generally performed for the convenience of the owner; however, declawing cats can result in unnecessary and avoidable acute and chronic pain and adverse behavioural effects. It is the responsibility of cat owners to become educated on the subject of declawing and its

Medically Unnecessary Procedures
Medically Unnecessary Procedures
Humane Canada (also known as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies) is Canada's federation of SPCAs and humane societies, representing the largest animal welfare community in Canada.