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Please Tell Filmmakers: Animal Cruelty Isn’t Comedy!

November 2, 2010

From Animal Law Coalition

In November 2010 the summer movie Grown Ups will be released on DVD.

The movie’s  running joke? A canine character whose vocal cords were cut to suppress his voice. (The dog used in the film was not actually devocalized.)

Apparently, the filmmakers think devocalization is funny. Stella, in the picture, doesn’t. Scar tissue obstructed her airway after an AKC breeder had her vocal cords cut to “quiet” her. She’s not alone. Devocalization is more common than you may think, primarily among those who keep animals for profit, sport or exhibition.

devocalized dog

Serious risks, no benefit for animals: People who have rescued devocalized animals, and vets who have treated the complications–from a lifetime of uncontrollable gagging to massive infection–say devocalization is an act of crueltyperformed for convenience and profit without any benefit for animals, not even the guarantee of a home. Devocalized dogs and cats are abandoned like any other.

Take Action With Just a Click!

Please sign Tell Adam Sandler: Devocalization isn’t Funny!

Tell Hollywood animal cruelty is not a joke.


The Unkindest Cut

Vodpod videos no longer available.


The Faces of Devocalization

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Then forward to friends and family–everyone, everywhere who cares about animals.

Post to Facebook and your blog too.

This petition will be delivered. You will be heard. And it will make a difference.

Ironically, Grown Ups was filmed in Massachusetts during the successful campaign to ban devocalization of dogs and cats statewide.

The bill became law. But it is attitudes–often shaped by popular culture, including movies–that are the strongest influence on the way we treat animals.

Use your voice to influence Hollywood.

Message Text

Dear Adam Sandler,

Your summer comedy Grown Ups included a canine character who had been devocalized. Devocalization is an unnecessary “convenience surgery” in which vocal cords are cut to alter or remove a dog’s or cat’s voice. The movie portrayed this cruel procedure as necessary and the dog’s horribly altered voice as a joke.

But veterinarians, shelters, and adopters of devocalized animals agree: There is nothing funny about devocalization at all. Many people don’t realize how painful and risky devocalization surgery is, nor that it is most often ordered for the convenience or profit of those who keep many animals, such as breeders.

Devocalized animals sound hoarse and may cough, wheeze and gag uncontrollably the rest of their lives. Some are left mute. Others die as a result of complications like scarring that obstructs the airway, or can’t run and play because they have difficulty breathing. Sadly, devocalized dogs and cats land in shelters like any other animal. They face terrible risks without any benefit! That’s why Massachusetts recently banned canine and feline devocalization. Legislation is now pending at the federal level with more state bills on the way.

I am not writing to criticize, as many people are unaware that devocalization subjects animals to pain and serious risks regardless of the veterinarian’s skill or how the vocal cords are cut. I am simply writing to educate you on the realities of devocalization so that, as an influential figure in our society, you may be as aware as possible about issues like these when making your movies. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch these short videos that feature real devocalized dogs along with the people who rescued them.

Please watch true stories of devocalized dogs:

The Faces of Devocalization

The Unkindest Cut

Thank you for your time.

actors would you
like to have no voice
you are humans
you have a choice
there is no humor
no bark no bite
you would not be
if you had no

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

One Comment leave one →
  1. karen lyons kalmenson permalink
    November 3, 2010 7:08 am

    actors would you
    like to have no voice
    you are humans
    you have a choice
    there is no humor
    no bark no bite
    you would not be
    if you had no


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