(ANIMAL CRUELTY) NEW YORK — Legislation is pending in New York state to ban devocalization, the process of cutting the vocal cords of dogs and cats to stifle sound. This cruel and dangerous practice is more common than you think. It’s popular among breeders, show dog exhibitors, sled dog racers, people who fight or breed animals illegally, animal hoarders, and selfish pet guardians. Already banned in Europe and Massachusetts, it’s time for the rest of the U.S. to follow suite. The amendment has already been weakened slightly to appease the veterinary lobby. Read on for more about devocalization, and how to ensure no more changes to the ban occur. — Global Animal
Friends of Animals
Legislation is now pending to ban devocalization of dogs and cats—cutting vocal cord tissue just to stifle their voices—in New York State. Massachusetts took that humane step in 2010. This act of cruelty is also illegal throughout most of Europe. There’s good reason why:
• Devocalization is dangerous regardless of the vet’s skill or the instrument used, even laser. Scarring, a normal outcome of any surgery, can be fatal in the throat.
• There’s no benefit for the animal, not even assurance of a home. Shelters report that devocalized animals are abandoned like any other. Lady, for example, was given up twice after being devocalized.
• And it’s much more common than you may think. Devocalization of dogs and cats (yes, it’s done to them too) is a cruelty that’s easy to hide because unlike cut tails, ears and paws, vocal cords aren’t visible. People assume these animals have kennel cough or laryngitis—including those who unwittingly purchase or adopt devocalized pets. It’s hard to imagine that someone could be inhumane enough to have an animal’s voice surgically stifled.
Who Would Have an Animal Devocalized—and Why?
• Breeders, when they or neighbors don’t want to hear their many animals, or to hide an illegal breeding enterprise
• Show dog exhibitors, to keep dogs quiet in transit between shows or in the ring
• Sled dog racers, because huskies are a “barky” breed, and dogs in a pack tend to vocalize more
• Those who hoard animals or who fight dogs, to hide their activities
• Uninformed or selfish pet owners, because a breeder or vet recommended it—or because this dangerous surgery is easier than responsible selection, care, training and housing of animals
Lobbies That Profit from Devocalization Are Fighting This Humane Legislation
While many humane vets have endorsed this legislation—and yours should too!—professional associations exist mainly to protect all their members’ business interests, The New York State Veterinary Society is working to kill the proposed ban outright or turn it into a sham law that legitimizes cruelty. One way is by allowing some people, such as pet owners, to have dogs and cats devocalized.
There’s no ethical reason for that: Devocalized pets are abandoned for the same reasons as any other, or when owners can’t afford costly surgery to remove scar tissue blocking their pet’s airway, a common complication of devocalization.
Allowing pet owners to have animals devocalized is misguided and unenforceable. Worse, it would legitimize and promote what many societies and humane individuals rightly recognize as an act of cruelty. No one should be allowed to perpetrate cruelty.
This legislation already has been weakened to appease the veterinary lobby. It’s still viable. But further amendments, including the one above, would leave animals vulnerable to dangerous surgery they don’t need and are helpless to refuse. Don’t let that happen!
Stella’s first owner had her devocalized; her adopter paid $2,000 to remove scar tissue blocking her airway.
Act Now. Without Your Voice, Dogs and Cats Will Have None
Online petitions won’t pass an effective devocalization ban. And emails to lawmakers aren’t always read or counted. Call instead. It’s quick, easy and effective.
WHO TO CALL:
• Senator Zeldin’s Chief of Staff, Chris Molluso, at 631-585-0608 (district) or 518-455-3570 (Statehouse)
• Assemblyman Zebrowski’s Chief of Staff Chris Bresnan, 845-634-9791 (district) or 518-455-5735 (Statehouse)
WHAT TO SAY:
“I’m very disappointed that Assembly Bill 3431 was watered down for the veterinary lobby, which profits from devocalization. If there are further amendments to it or Senate Bill 6167, other animal lovers in your district and I will work to defeat it. We’ll be following this legislation. And we vote.”
If you get voicemail, leave a brief message, then call back till you speak with an aide.
• Be brief and polite, but firm.
• Make sure your voice is counted: Ask the aide to repeat your message, name and address back to you. Get his/her name too; keep lawmakers and their staff accountable!
More Friends of Animals: http://www.friendsofanimals.org/news/2012/april/ladyas-vocal-cords-w.html