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Tell the NY Veterinary Society: Take a Humane Stand Against Devocalization!

In 2010, the Massachusetts legislature overwhelmingly banned devocalization of dogs and cats, an inhumane, unnecessary veterinary procedure in which vocal cords are cut just to stifle the animal’s voice.

In 2012, the New York State Senate killed similar legislation. Lawmakers say the powerful New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS) lobbied against the devocalization ban.

Though caring vets joined with animal shelters and rescue groups to endorse this proposed humane law, the NYSVMS opposed it.

In the end, the veterinary society won, and innocent dogs and cats lost.

Senate leaders wouldn't even give the devocalization ban a vote, denying it the democratic process—and condemning dogs and cats to lifelong anguish or an agonizing death for the “crime” of communicating. The many thousands of New Yorkers who supported the ban were effectively devocalized too.

Why Would Any Vet Oppose This Humane Law?

Killing the devocalization ban, or amending it to allow the very cruelty the law was intended to prohibit, protects veterinary business interests. Some vets devocalize despite the harm it causes animals. Others just don’t want any restrictions. They’re afraid banning devocalization could lead to prohibition of other mutilations that dogs and cats are forced to endure for human convenience, aesthetic preferences and profit.

Without a Ban, Animals Will Continue to Suffer

Devocalization subjects animals to horrific risks regardless of the veterinarian’s skill or the instrument used, including laser. Scarring, a normal outcome of any surgery, can be deadly when it forms in the throat.

“Lucky” dogs and cats struggle to breathe, or cough and gag persistently, the rest of their lives after being devocalized. Others choke to death on their food, suffer heatstroke regardless of the weather, even inhale vomit into their lungs.

All of these risks come without any benefit for the animal: Devocalized dogs and cats are surrendered, abandoned and convenience-euthanized like any other. Shelters and rescue groups say behavior-masking surgery doesn’t assure them a home; people who select animals wisely, care for and train them responsibly, and commit to them do.

Tell Veterinarians to Take a Humane Stand

· No matter where you live: Sign this petition and add a comment. Let vets know you expect them to endorse laws prohibiting devocalization used as behavioral intervention. And tell the NYSVMS: Veterinary associations should raise the bar for humane treatment of animals, not lower it!

· Live in the U.S.? Urge your veterinarian to fill out this simple form expressing his/her support of a devocalization ban in your state:

Don’t be shy. You’re the client. You pay the bills. You have the right to expect the vet caring for your best friend to take this humane stand for animals. If he or she won’t, you also have the right to find a veterinarian whose values match yours.

No veterinarian should devocalize, a procedure so cruel, many countries outlaw it.

No veterinary association should rationalize this act of animal cruelty.

No vet should sanction it with his or her silence.

Letter to
New York State Veterinary Medical Society
We who care about animals appeal to you on their behalf.

The cutting of vocal cord tissue just to alter or remove a dog’s or cat’s voice, known as devocalization, is widely and rightly considered an act of animal cruelty, even when performed by a veterinarian. These animals are unnecessarily subjected to pain, suffering and life-threatening risks without any benefit, not even assurance of a home.

Compassionate people everywhere want you to know:

No vet should devocalize, a procedure so cruel, many countries outlaw it.

No veterinary association should rationalize or sanction this cruelty.

We urge the NYSVMS to follow the principled lead of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, animal shelters, rescue groups and the caring veterinarians who support laws prohibiting vocal cord surgery on dogs and cats except to treat a physical illness, injury or birth defect causing the animal physical, medical harm.

That is the only ethical reason for this procedure. NYSVMS should tolerate no other.

Animal Law Coalition started this petition with a single signature, and now has 1,018 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.