Very good question Delilah and you are right ! I don't live in the USA, I'm very thankful to live in England where declawing is illegal and where even before that, our vets would never do it apart from for medical reasons for the cat's benefit,then just the affected toe/toes were removed.
The day will come when domestic cats there are protected the same as big cats, it has to because more and more people are finding out the truth that declawing is cruel and it has to stop.The person saying it's being going on a long time, yes it has, too long ! Animal welfare is improving and moving on all the time, it doesn't mean because something has happened for decades that it is right and that it has to continue. Vets don't educate people, they don't want declawing banned as it fills their bank accounts nicely.They don't explain to clients that it's the amputation of the last toe joint or that indoor cats need their claws just as much as outdoor cats do.They need them to exercise their muscles, that's why so many declawed cats develop arthritis.People ignorant of this fact say their cats are fine, they obviously don't know that cats hide their pain and that problems can arise (and often do) even years after the initial amputations.
It's disgraceful that some vets offer neuter/declaw packages to encourage declawing.It's supposed to be a last resort, not done to kittens which are very easily trained to a scratching post. It's far too easy for lazy people to have them mutilated instead. I recently read one vet justified declawing kittens by saying it was less painful and the recovery wasn't as difficult for them as older cats,so she admits it IS painful and recovering IS difficult ! So what she is saying is she's doing the right thing declawing kittens just INCASE they scratch when older ....she justifies crippling kittens for life, just incase ......that can't be right surely !
It's high time the AVMA sorted out this mess as too many cats are suffering and they can't keep on turning a blind eye to that fact !!
retired vet nurse UK