Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

A quarter of domestic cats have had their claws removed. Even though it might make the owners lives a little easier, the procedure can be incredibly painful for the animals and has been described as "barbaric."

Most of Europe and Canada have banned cat declawing (onychectomy), as well as several U.S. cities, but New York just became the first state to do so. Now, any vet who declaws a cat in the there will face a fine of $1,000, unless the procedure is medically necessary.

"Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops," New York GovernorAndrew Cuomo saidin a statement, per USA Today.

Some people get their cat declawed to stop their furniture and flesh from being destroyed. However, declawing a cat isn't the best way to stop a cat from scratching. In fact, it's probably the worst. "If a person has an issue with a cat scratching, well, first of all, I'd advise them don't get a cat because that is the very nature of a cat. But, secondly, there are ways to change cats' behavior. Get scratching posts. There are vinyl sheathes that could be placed on the nails," Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said. Rosenthal sponsored the bill and is a cat owner, herself. "[T]here's many ways to address that behavior." None of the ways you address the problem should include taking it's claws off.

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via Jimmywee / Flickr

Currently, there are animal cruelty laws in 50 states as well federal laws that prohibit animal fighting and creating videos that depict animal cruelty. But animals still aren't protected by any far-reaching blanket legislation on a federal level.

What if animals are being tortured across state lines? What if animals are being transported for bestiality? What if animal cruelty occurs on federal property?

That's why Democratic Representative Ted Deutch and Republican Representative Vern Buchanan, both from Florida, have come together to propose bipartisan legislation that broadens the scope of federal jurisdiction through the PACT Act — which stands for Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture.

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The puppies and kittens in your local pet store are pretty cute. But knowing where the adorable animals come from can be heartbreaking.

Many animals sold in pet stores come from "puppy mills," large-scale commercial breeding operations that put profit over animal welfare, resulting in unsanitary conditions, cramped cages, and inhumane practices.

A dog rescued from a puppy mill by the South Carolina National Guard. Photo by Maj. Cindi King, U.S. Army National Guard/Wikimedia Commons.

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