Read and learn before you speak to lawmakers about NYS Senate bill S2271. Or you could HURT the animals you're trying to protect.
You may think it's simple: Cutting vocal cords to suppress a dog's or cat's voice is an act of animal cruelty and should be illegal.
But lobbyists for special interests that profit from devocalization have clouded the issue and created clever loopholes to sanction this inhumane surgery. Their proposed amendments may seem benign but would hurt more animals than if there were no law.
Make no mistake: A loopholed law is NOT a stepping stone; it is a dead end. Worse, the amendments being considered would encourage devocalization.
And because lobbyists continue to devise loopholes, the only sure way to protect animals from this heartless surgery is to pass S2271 as introduced. Or it shouldn't pass at all.
YOUR WORDS MATTER!
If you talk to lawmakers about devocalization of "pets" instead of "dogs and cats," you're supporting a loophole that would leave animals used for breeding, show, sport and research, who aren't considered pets, with NO protection from this act of cruelty. Likewise, applying the law only to puppy mills, breeders or landlords would keep the vast majority of dogs and cats unprotected--and sanction devocalization.
If you tell lawmakers devocalization should be allowed for the vague term "medical necessity," you're supporting a loophole that enables vets, who profit from devocalization, to perform this risky, convenience surgery without any restriction. To protect animals from having their vocal cords cut for barking or meowing, "medical necessity" must be defined as treatment of a a PHYSICAL illness, injury or birth defect causing medical harm.
If you don't say vocal cord surgery must be allowed ONLY to treat a PHYSICAL ailment, you're also supporting a loophole that nearly was adopted in one municipality: It would allow devocalization for a so-called "behavioral" illness. Barking and meowing are not pathology; they are normal communication that only becomes problematic in the absence of responsible care and training. Even separation anxiety can be treated effectively without surgery.
If you say devocalization should only be allowed as a "final alternative" to euthanasia, you're supporting the worst loophole: Not only is "final alternative/last resort" unenforceable, keeping devocalization legally acceptable, it makes this act of cruelty socially acceptable too. That will result in even more dogs and cats subjected to vocal cord surgery they don't need but are helpless to refuse.
And surgically altering a dog's or cat's voice does not guarantee a healthy animal won't be euthanized or surrendered. In fact, it can increase the risk.
LEARN BEFORE YOU TALK TO LAWMAKERS.
Your ignorance is pro-devocalization lobbyists' bliss. Click to read more about loopholes. And be sure you read about devocalization as well as common myths too. To be an effective advocate for animals, you must be an informed advocate.