A New Jersey Assembly committee has approved a bill that would ban veterinarians from declawing cats.

NJ.com says the measure, if passed by both houses of the Legislatures and signed into law by Gov. Christie, would make New Jersey the first state in the country to outlaw the practice, which is considered cruel by many animal welfare organizations.

Violators would face a fine of up to $1,000 or six months in jail, as well as an additional civil penalty of $500 to $2,000, under the bill.

Opponents argue that the procedure has become less intrusive in recent years and that outlawing the practice might result in a drop in adoptions and an increase in euthanasia.

The bill is sponsored by Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-Burlington.