International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) Announces “Stop Devocalization Now” Project

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In order to precipitate a national discussion about devocalization, and to arm those likeminded people and organizations such as International Society for Animal Rights who want to end the practice, ISAR has created the "Stop Devocalization Now" Project.

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According to International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR), unknown to most custodians of dogs and cats and the public at large, there is a widespread practice in the United States of surgically cutting the vocal cords of canines (and, less often, felines).

ISAR has decided that consistent with its non-profit efforts on behalf of animal rights, devocalization when not performed solely for the medical benefit of dogs and cats but instead for the convenience of humans must be ended throughout the United States.

To accomplish that goal, ISAR has created a stand-alone Stop Devocalization Now Project to provide ammunition to likeminded people throughout the United States.

While commonly known by the euphemism “debarking,” synonyms for cutting a dog’s or cat’s vocal cords include “devocalization,” “silencing,” “bark softening,” “cutting the vocal cords.” According to the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA), a veterinarian cuts the animal’s soft tissue by making a surgical incision in the dog’s neck, or by inserting tools through her mouth.

The consequences for devocalized dogs can be, and often are, severe. HSVMA has reported that breathing can become a struggle for devocalized animals because of airway obstruction, which in turn can cause a later administration of anesthesia for legitimate medical reasons to be problematic. A dog can choke on food, inhale vomit into her lungs, choke, gag, cough. Scar tissue buildup can require multiple surgical procedures. The devocalization procedure can cause severe blood loss and infection. It stands to reason that police — anyone, for that matter — suddenly encountering a devocalized attack dog will have no warning.

It has been reported by Animal Law Coalition that a devocalized dog is more likely to be surrendered to a shelter and that Massachusetts shelters have received many devocalized animals before the practice was outlawed there.

ISAR’s Stop Devocalization Now Project — working through volunteers in every state in the country — will provide all information possible about devocalization, including but not limited to links to containing the following information:

Aspects of Devocalization: Medical, Ethical, Behavioral, Opponents and proponents.

Activism: ISAR’s Model Anti-Devocalization Statute, Suggested Letter-to-the-Editor and others, Veterinarian/behaviorist non-devocalization support and pledge, Initiative and referendum, Petitions, Anti-devocalization efforts abroad (Australia, Elsewhere).

Law and Legislation: Existing domestic anti-devocalization legislation (Massachusetts, New Jersey, Warwick Rhode Island, Newtown Ohio, Ohio.) Pending anti-devocalization legislation (California, Virginia), Failed anti-devocalization legislative attempts (California, New York, Cranston Rhode Island Congress). Lobbying. Cases related to anti-devocalization legislation. Constitutionality of anti-devocalization legislation.

Public Education: Anti-devocalization videos.

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International Society for Animal Rights
International Society for Animal Rights
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