They cough and gag. Suffer heatstroke even when it's not hot. Inhale food, liquids and vomit into their lungs. Struggle to breathe. Choke to death.
These are among the miseries dogs and cats endure after being devocalized, an inhumane veterinary procedure in which vocal cords are cut to stifle the animal's voice. It's brutal punishment for the "crime" of communicating.
Those who have animals devocalized, and the vets who perform it for them, rarely disclose it. They know devocalization is widely considered cruel--and that it's easy to conceal. Vocal cords are hidden from view.
Devocalization Exposes Animals to Life-Threatening Risks... Concerned vets say vocal cord surgery is always dangerous, potentially lethal, regardless of who performs it or how. Even a little scar tissue, a normal outcome of any surgery, can be deadly when it forms in the throat. Other risks include blood loss, infection and damage to the larynx that can impair breathing and swallowing.
...Without Any Benefit When performed as behavioral intervention, vocal cord surgery is cruel. Yet some try to sanitize it as a "final alternative" to surrender or euthanasia, an indefensible claim that protects human convenience and profit, not animals. Here's the reality:
Shelters and rescue groups say healthy dogs and cats are given up--and euthanized--after being devocalized.
And no vet is forced either to cut healthy vocal cord tissue or kill a healthy animal for barking or meowing.
Animals, who don't need but are helpless to refuse this convenience surgery, don't benefit from it at all.
That's why Massachusetts outlawed devocalization in 2010 without loopholes pushed by veterinary and breeding lobbyists--thanks to the tenacity of caring people statewide, including 200 humane vets, under the Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets umbrella. It remains the only state devocalization ban in the US that protects all dogs and cats from this cruelty.