As the state legislature grapples with ethics reform, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary is about to hear a bill that looks at a different ethical issue: cutting a companion animal’s vocal cords just to suppress his voice. An Act Prohibiting Devocalization, H. 344, would stop this practice–more common than most people think– which humane organizations and animal lovers deem cruel and unnecessary. The bill would allow vocal cord surgery only for medical necessity, not as a behavioral intervention.
The public hearing is scheduled for July 14 at the State House.
Jordan Star, the high school freshman who filed the bill, says: “I heard the horrible rasping and wheezing sounds a devocalized dog made, and started asking questions. I talked to a vet who told me a dog choked to death after she devocalized him. Another vet said devocalization is dangerous and painful, but should be allowed for people like a breeder she knows. She said this person had to devocalize her Australian Shepherds because they’re loud. My question is then why breed them? Is it right to take away an animal’s voice just because you can?”
Rep. Brownsberger was the first House cosponsor to sign on to H. 344 , followed by 57 other representatives and senators. Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets, an unfunded, all-volunteer network of Massachusetts pet owners and advocates, is leading the effort to pass it.
The bill is endorsed by humane organizations statewide, including the MSPCA, and nationally by the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. Angell Animal Medical Center refuses to devocalize. Why?
There are serious risks whether the surgery is performed through the oral cavity or an incision in the neck, regardless of the vet’s skill or experience. Tissue regrowth is common, subjecting the animal to the pain and stress of repeated surgeries, and owners to costs they may be unable or unwilling to pay. That puts the animal at additional risk: surrender or convenience euthanasia. Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association
Devocalizing an animal puts people at risk too. A dog’s warning bark is different than his “play with me” bark. Devocalization removes nuances; some dogs are rendered mute. Would you know muffled, indistinguishable sounds or wheezing and coughing mean “back off or I’ll bite”? Would your child or a frail elder know?
Persistent barking is often a sign of distress. Cutting vocal cords rather than addressing it begs the animal to express his discomfort in other ways, like biting. Devocalization doesn’t change an animal’s needs.
Devocalized animals are abandoned like any other. Moving, financial concerns, and the owner’s health problems are leading causes of pet surrender. Barking is not. Breeding and show dogs, devocalized or not, may be given up when no longer profitable. Shirley Moore, Founder and Director, Save A Dog
There are many humane alternatives, from enriching the animal’s environment to making sure he gets enough exercise and companionship. The field of applied animal behavior offers a wide range of solutions for more difficult cases. Spay/neuter will reduce hormone-driven aggression or excitement that can result in a noisy animal. Finally, common sense should prevail: Don’t get a naturally barky breed if you or your neighbors don’t like noise! And because dogs bark more in a group, breeding enterprises should be located far enough from neighbors to not create a disturbance.
H. 344 amends the animal cruelty statute because cutting an animal’s vocal cords for human benefit is undeniably cruel. “Allowable as a last resort,” as those who profit from devocalization suggest, would make the law unenforceable. No vet can determine whether a client pursued all humane options. “Last resort” is also baseless. Humane organizations say: Devocalization does not guarantee animals a secure home. And barking does not force owners or shelters to euthanize.
I am pleased to support this bill. I am also supporting a bill to improve the treatment of circus animals and a bill to improve the conditions of confinement of farm animals. I am hopeful that as our society progresses, we will all look back at many of the things we currently do to animals, especially farm animals, as entirely unethical.
Thank you for speaking out on these issues!
Thank you for supporting this valuable legislation. It’s important for our laws to protect animals as well as humans from inhumane treatment. Legislation like this represents our values as a society, just as laws regarding civil rights, women’s rights and environmental and animal protection have done in the past.
I belive Rep. Brownsberger has heard only one side of this issue. He has heard from the Animal Rights as opposed to Animal Welfare side. He should know that the American Veterinary Medical Society endorses devocalization of dogs http://www.avma.org/issues/policy/animal_welfare/devocalization.asp when behavior modification does not work. The Veterinary organization he quotes was formerly the Veterinarians for Animal Rights and it is funded by the Humane Society of the US which is an animal rights (as opposed to welfare) group that does not operate animal shelters. Those of us who have been involved in rescue are aware that large numbers of animals are turned in to shelters for barking. Many of these animals are not easily rehomed. If they cannot be trained to stop barking, bark softening is a last resort and is highly effective. It needs to be done by a vet experienced in the procedure. The photo on this page has been circulated by animal rights people to suggest this is the way it is done. A proper surgery is doen with a biopsy punch and is nearly bloodless. Please check out the article I wrote about this. http://www.patriotledger.com/opinions/x942416232/COMMENTARY-Bill-against-bark-softening-operation-is-misguided The push for this bill has been primarily by out of state animal rights groups.
For bark softening, the dog goes to the vet, is put under light anesthesia and a clip is taken from the vocal cords. The dog wakes up, goes home and resumes his/her normal behavior except the bark is softer. To circulate this inflamatory and blantantly biased article in hopes of passing a bad piece of legislation is to sentence many dogs to death when they are turned into shelters or abused for excessive barking.
Bark softening surgery is MUCH less invasive than spaying or neutering. In spaying, the dog is put under heavy sedation, the skin, muscles and ligaments of the stomach are cut and the euterus cut out. There is much blood and if the many layers of sutures pulling tthose same muscles, ligaments and skin together aren’t done properly, the dog can bleed to death. Same for neutering a male. Do you then support risking a dogs’ lives by spaying and neutering? After all, procreation is their natural state and you are taking that right away if you spay/neuter. Not to mention the MANY cancers etc that can occur more frequently in spayed and neutered dogs.
Ms. McGowan, who breeds dogs in a residential neighborhood, may be attempting to obfuscate the truth. She certainly is misguided.
Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets is an all-volunteer, unfunded network of Massachusetts pet owners, rescue volunteers and animal professionals, including veterinarians who have treated the horrific complications of devocalization surgery.
Whether one uses an adenoid punch or a scalpel, whether vocal cords are accessed through the oral cavity or an incision in the neck, cutting soft tissue in the throat subjects the animal to serious risks. The less invasive oral procedure often results in tissue regrowth that may lead to repeated surgeries.
Who do you think benefits–the dog or the humans who ordered and performed the devocalization?
Devocalized dogs are abandoned just like any other. Ask the adopter of the dog pictured in this article, whose breeder ordered her vocal cords cut and then dumped her. Or the adopter of Lady, a Bichon Frise who was surrendered to a shelter twice after being devocalized. Or the adopter of Logan, whose AKC breeder devocalized him to continue operating her business near neighbors, then no longer wanted him when his stud days were over.
Unlike those who oppose this humane legislation, members of our Coalition have nothing to gain if it passes but the knowledge that we have spoken out to protect those with no figurative voices from being robbed of their literal voices. As the late British statesman Edmund Burke said, “Evil triumphs when good people do nothing.”
Finally, An Act Prohibiting Devocalization is endorsed by the MSPCA, Buddy Dog Humane Society, Save A Dog, Friends of the Plymouth Pound and many other very mainstream animal WELFARE organizations throughout Massachusetts.
Yes, we own dogs. Reasonable people agree, however, that doesn’t make them inanimate objects to slice and dice for human convenience and profit.
The term “bark softening” is spin, designed to sanitize a risky, painful procedure. The reality is no vet can accurately predict the sound of the post-surgical voice.
It can be hoarse, like laryngitis; wheezy, like emphysema; or screechy and shrill. Many people find this more irritating than the dog’s natural voice.
Nuances that distinguish a dog’s “play with me” bark from his “back off or I’ll bite” bark are often eliminated. Some devocalized dogs also cough and gag uncontrollably the rest of their lives.
Thank you for supporting such an important piece of legislation.
This is an issue of compassion for dogs and cats. Those who have a vested, financial interest in this issue (especially breeders like Ms. Mcgowan) have been pushing hard to misinform the public about devocalization.
I applaud Rep. Brownsberger for standing on the side of compassion and by his constituents.
I would like to correct an untruth Ms. McGowan has been spreading concerning the alleged funding of advocates of this bill by out-of-state groups. As a Mass. volunteer, I can assert without qualification that NO funding has come from such groups. In point of fact, this is entirely a grass-roots effort, with all modest expenses paid out-of-pocket by volunteers who have freely given their time and dedication to this humane cause. Moreover, the photo of Stella, showing the devocalized dog’s stitches, display the result of CORRECTIVE surgery, which, according to vets testifying on this issue, is often required to repair scar tissue and other complications after the supposed “minor” surgery Ms. McGowan implies. I am speaking of documented cases of such complications after board-certified veterinary surgeons have performed the devocalization operation. Another point of misinformation relates to “large numbers of animals turned into shelters for barking,” according to Ms. McGowan. Why, then, does the New England Federation of Humane Societies and their shelter directors state that this is seldom the reason dogs are surrendered? Finally, Ms. McGowan seeks to label this bill an “animal rights” bill in order to discredit it in some people’s eyes. Most accurately, this is an animal WELFARE and PROTECTION bill, to protect animals from a highly questionable maiming that provides them no benefit and may indeed cause pain and discomfort for the rest of their lives.
I applaud Rep. Brownsberger’s humane stance.
The statements by Charlotte McGowan are ironic. Here is someone who breeds dogs and expresses her concern about the “large numbers of animals … turned in to shelters for barking”. Not so. True enough, there are many dogs that end up in shelters (though seldom for that reason) and, failing to find forever homes, end up being euthanized. There are just so many homes available, as anyone who has worked in shelters can attest. The statistics are grim and grimmer than ever in the present economy as owners who can no longer afford to feed them, turn in their dogs. To add to the population of dogs under these circumstances is unconscionable.
In fact, dogs are not being euthanized in droves as was suggested in the previous post.
If surrendered to a shelter, a “barky”, but otherwise healthy dog, can be successfully “re-homed” with a new owner who will take the time to meet its needs for training, exercise, and companionship. It is the case that New England shelters in general, have a very low population of surrendered dogs.
I strongly support this bill to prohibit devocalization except when medically necessary and thank Rep. Brownsberger for his principled position in support.
I would add to what I said below that Ms. McGowan’s remarks are indeed disingenuous and seem intended to mislead readers who are, in all probability, not familiar with devocalization surgery and its often unhappy aftermath.
Lies, lies and more lies. There is no highly-funded out-of-state special interest animal rights group behind this bill! It’s a grass roots effort of volunteers who care that dogs and cats are being arbitrarily brutalized by devocalization. Nice try to make it look like we’re driven by money. I believe you’re confused as you’re obviously the one who is driven by money. I’ve been a volunteer at a local animal shelter for over 10 years. We see dogs surrendered for many reasons unrelated to barking: their new love interest doesn’t like animals, someone becomes allergic, they move to non-animal friendly housing, they become ill and can no longer care for their pet, they have a baby, they don’t have enough time, they can no longer afford the care of their pet, they are loosing their home, they just don’t want the responsibility any more and so on. Our pets have become so disposable, it’s disgusting. I am appalled by the claim that the opponents of this bill only devocalize as a last resort when by your own admission, many of you breeders devocalize your dogs as routinely and as automatically as you give them a rabies vaccine. Shame on you, Charlotte, for perpetrating the harm you do to these poor animals.
Charlotte McGowan is not just a dog breeder. She is a lobbyist for NAIA, a pro puppy mill lobbying group founded by an AKC board member who works on getting puppy mill registration business for the AKC. NAIA supports debarking (and other cruelty) because puppy mills use debarking, and NAIA supports the financial interests of puppy mills. Without puppy mill registration money, the AKC would be bankrupt.
Here is more about NAIA http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=NAIA_Trust
The founder of NAIA with whom Charlotte McGowan is personally involved http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Patti_Strand
Why the AKC is involved with protecting puppy mills http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/bouvier/Bouv_Pages/article-inquire-puppymills-AKC.htm
Wow! Haven’t been to this site in a long time. What a bunch of truly hateful stuff! I am not a lobbyist for anyone. I am a private citizen and dog lover with 50 years experience as a dog show judge, hobby dog owner and breeder, rescuer, and animal welfare advocate. I support the National Animal Interest Alliance which supports all animal use groups that work toward humane treatment of animals. NAIA deals in science and fact, not emotion. The animal rights people here are really unable to grasp that outlawing a last resort option approved by the AVMA which represents the vast majority of veterinarians in the U.S. will condemn some dogs to death. The Mass. Veterinary Medical Society also opposes this bill. I have seen lots of dogs that have been debarked during my decades in dogs and the only bad results I have even heard of are the kind of results you can get with any surgery when the surgeon does not know how to do the procedure. For instance when the vet goes through the throat instead of through the mouth. Plenty of dogs have died on the table getting spayed and neuetered but people don’t rise up and say this is cruel and wrong because some dogs had a bad result. That is major surgery. Bark softening is very minor surgery properly done. It is propely called bark softening because dogs still bark. They just don’t make as much noise. With the group that was formerly known as the veterinarians for animal rights pushing this bill, is it a wonder that one of their chief spokesmen pushes drugs for behavior problems? I personally think that is cruel and wrong. As to out of state groups being involved, let’s start with this HSUS funded veterinary group with a very small number of vet members. Then let’s move on to Laura Allen in NY who seems to have written the bill and Best Friends in Utah that has been all over the internet. Now tell me that these big out of state groups and their money are grass roots! No. The local supporters include some shelters including some that import some of the thousands of strays from the South and offshore islands to sell here. Some other supporters are well intentioned animal lovers who have been led down the path on the issue and do not have first hand experience with this. And no vet I have ever talked to has ever heard of a cat being devocalized! I talked to a cat lady convinced it is done but she too knew of no case. So why do we want to remove a last resort option to save a dog and send a compassionate vet to jail? It makes no sense to me at all. It is a very sad state of affairs.
Ms. McGowan has a vested interest in opposing humane legislation. She is a breeder who readily admits having devocalized the dogs domiciled in her residential Newton home. Of course–neighbors don’t want to hear a pack of barking dogs, yet this is where Ms. McGowan chose to breed. Why should dogs undergo surgery for her lack of judgment and selfish best interest? Or because breeders don’t want to hear their own dogs–their profit centers–vocalize. Or because it is inconvenient to shuttle a barky dog across the country for stud service and exhibition in shows.
What happens when these dogs are no longer profitable or they stop winning ribbons? Do the math. Members of the coalition sponsoring this bill have rescued breeders’ discarded, devocalized dogs.
Let’s set the record straight:
1) I am part of a large group of Massachusetts pet owners, all volunteers, donating our time and resources to pass this humane legislation. We receive no funding from any group inside or outside Massachusetts.
The MSPCA, Angell Animal Medical Center, New England Federation of Humane Societies and shelters statewide endorse the bill. So do more than 200 MA veterinarians and veterinary surgeons, including those who have treated the horrific aftermath of devocalization. The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Assn., an arm of the well-respected, mainstream animal welfare organization, The Humane Society of the United States, also backs the bill. None of these groups has provided a cent of funding to our citizens’ coalition.
2) It doesn’t matter how devocalization is performed. There are risks with every surgery, not the least of which is scar tissue. Obviously, when that develops in the throat, the airway may be obstructed–not uncommon post-devocalization surgery.
And there is always pain after soft tissue is cut. Think a paper cut hurts? Try having your vocal cords cut and partially or totally removed.
When vocal cords are accessed through the oral cavity, tissue regrowth is very common, potentially subjecting the animal to the pain, stress and surgical risks of repeated surgeries. When the vocal cords are accessed through an incision in the neck, hemorrhage is more likely. Either way, there is a greater risk of infection than with some other surgeries due to resident bacteria in the larynx and trachea.
3) There is no reference to “bark softening” in the veterinary literature. That is spin designed to sanitize a cruel procedure.
We have met rescuers of dogs rendered mute by devocalization. Others sound like they have laryngitis. Many also wheeze, gag and cough uncontrollably.
And yes, though obviously not as common, we have encountered devocalized cats. In fact, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, the country’s preeminent veterinary behaviorist, wrote of a devocalized cat in “The Cat Who Cried for Help.”
4) Spay/neuter at the appropriate age benefits animals–it reduces the risk of certain cancers–and society. Massachusetts has a very low population of sheltered dogs due to our effective spay/neuter programs. It should be noted that a good number of dogs in shelters are purebreds; they include those who were devocalized.
5) Devocalization does not benefit the animal at all; these dogs are abandoned just like those with their vocal cords intact.
Some are sold on the cheap by the breeders who had them devocalized to unsuspecting pet owners.
6) The bill merely amends the existing animal cruelty statue, and cutting a defenseless animal’s vocal cords for any reason but medical necessity is undeniably cruel. There is range of penalties; judiciary discretion determines whether an offender will be fined and in what amount, not to exceed $2,500. And bottom line: Don’t break the law, don’t face penalties.
7) The coalition sponsoring this bill offered to negotiate penalties with MVMA. The association did not respond.
8) Compassion doesn’t motivate a vet to cut an animal’s vocal cords to suppress his voice–profits do. Again, some breeders devocalize routinely. Shelter executives testified before the State legislature that otherwise well-behaved “barky” dogs will find a new home, and that devocalized dogs are surrendered same as any other. Until this selfish, inhumane practice is illegal, adoptable dogs like the little Pomeranian who choked to death after a Hopkinton vet devocalized him will continue to suffer the consequences of human greed and callousness.
Only those who profit from devocalization are fighting the bill that would ban it. Those who are volunteering their time to protect dogs and, yes, cats from this unnecessary and unethical surgery don’t stand to benefit financially whether the bill passes or not. We’re motivated by compassion and ethics, not the almighty dollar.
In February, ABC’s Nightline exposed the great suffering caused dogs by the AKC. To learn
more about NAIA:
In 2006 the AKC registered 870,000 individual dogs and 416,000 litters. At $20 per dog and $25 per litter (plus $2 per puppy) the AKC brought in well over $30 million in revenues from registration of dogs born in puppy mills. Litters from puppy mills are the registry’s largest source of income
the AKC, which Charlotte McGowan is a huge part of, will do anything for profit. She devocalizes her dogs, and where does she breed? In a small residential neighborhood, of course.
Charlotte, your desperation is really coming out, no one is falling for your lies anymore. give up, this bill is going to pass, no matter how many lies you put out to try to stop that from happening. We have facts, and we prove everything we say and disprove everything you say. Your campaign against this bill should really be called, “Help me and my breeder friends keep making money, oppose this bill.” It’s pathetic.
Hey all, let’s keep the conversation in this devocalization thread away from personal attacks — which I see going both ways here. And remember the one rule — no anonymous comments. We don’t censor content, but comments that don’t have a named owner will shortly be removed.
A sure sign of not having correct facts is an ad hominem attack. Source Watch is a website used by people without facts where the unelightened can be sent and be confused. SourceWatch is unvetted and no one seems to know who is running it. It seems to have be set up to defame. The National Animal Interest Alliance is a science based organization that supports the humane treatment of animals and the people who own those animals or work with those animals. I am not sure why sourcewatch would be quoted. You can see the NAIA website at http://www.naiaonline.org/
If you are looking for information on the Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets you won’t be able to find out much as there is no website, no list of members, officers or associates. Try googling them. The only name that seems connected with this group is Beth Birnbaum.
Considering the above two notes, where does defamation start? My dogs are my hobby and have been for all these years. I work to support them as they are not a “profit center” as these uninformed writers claim. They are a very expensive hobby since my dogs are my pets first and receive the best of everything. None of them are devocalized. And some of them are very old. I lost two this year at the ages of 17 and 15. To suggest that all people who have or do breed dogs are doing so for money or dumping dogs is really laughable. I support the AVMA and the MVMA who support bark softening (which is a name that most correctly discribes a simple surgery that I know can save a the life of a well loved dog.) I know this personally from having worked with rescues. I have talked to many veterinarians around the country who perform this life-saving surgery and they have never heard of anyone devocalizing a cat. The AVMA represents 78,000 vets around the country. The HSUS sponsored vet group represents an extremely small number of animal rights (as opposed to animal welfare) vets. AVMA is the premier national group and the MVMA is the leading Massachusetts group. MVMA represents the vast majority of veterinarians in Massachusetts. Both these groups support devocalization in dogs as a last resort. The American Kennel Club has long supported purebred dogs and now also supports all dogs. “Puppy mill” is not a legal term. It is a slur used by animal rights groups to attack all breeders of dogs. It is rather like the “N” word which is most surely out of fashion in the U.S.A. This is strictly name calling. Really, there is no place on this website for the posts that have beem allowed which are nothing more than personal attacks.
By Diana Cartier, November 17, 2009, 10:48 pm
Charlotte McGowan, by her own account on a Ch. 4 TV news program, keeps 13 dogs in her residence, which is situated very close to other homes in her suburban neighborhood. Can this be a hobby, as she says? Thirteen dogs sounds like animal hoarding, a clinical dysfunction; but, more likely, it means she’s simply in the breeding business. Like other breeders in similar situations, they are motivated to seek out vets who will cut the vocal cords of their animals, so the neighbors won’t complain. Responding to Ms. McGowan’s insinuations about CPRPets, I am a proud member of CPRPets, an all-volunteer organization composed of many members, like myself, who care about the welfare of dogs and cats, free of financial backstories. We are a collaborative group, not a hierarchical organization. Consistently, Ms. McGowan has downplayed the well-documented medical dangers of the devocalization surgery as well as the motivation behind it: that is why the renowned Angell Animal Medical Center WILL NOT PERFORM IT. Further, she says that “puppy mill” is not a legal term . Who said it was? It was coined to depict a real, video-documented horror of large numbers of breeding dogs confined to filthy wire cages, whose unhealthy puppies are sold in pet stores. This has been exposed many times in major television exposés. Unfortunately, the AKC defends this abusive trade from which it prospers through registration fees. Finally, it is instructive to check out the board members of the National Animal Interest Alliance, at naiaonline.org/about/board/htm. From their business and professional ties, one can see that these are people that have an interest, all right, in using animals as commodities. As the detective tells us, follow the money.
I am one of many hundreds of volunteers throughout Massachusetts who support An Act Prohibiting Devocalization under the banner Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets. CPR Pets is not a formal organization. There is no website nor officers. And, I might add, there is neither funding nor lobbyists. Opponents to the bill benefit from all these things.
We are ordinary citizens, most of us pet owners; in the cherished tradition of grassroots advocacy, we have appealed to our legislators to protect vulnerable animals from those who would cut their vocal cords to facilitate breeding and show dog enterprises.
Ms. McGowan readily admits having bred Shelties–which are notoriously barky dogs–in a quiet Newton neighborhood, and ordering their vocal cords cut when neighbors complained. She considers this ethical. We don’t. Our nation allows, indeed embraces, a difference of opinions.
Ms. McGowan has labeled Jordan Star, the humane teen who followed his conscience to file the bill banning devocalization, a “cult member.” She has labeled the Coalition “out-of-state radicals.” Yes, it is time to stop the name calling, personal attacks and disinformation.
BTW, the SourceWatch expose of NAIA is footnoted. Check it out.
I have been reading all of the posts here and I have to say two things..THANK YOU FOR ALL OF THE SUPPORT OF THIS BILL and that I am also a member of Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets. I have lived in Massachusetts my entire life..and have been involved with animal welfare in this state since 1981. As an owner of a previously devocalized dog..I do have first hand knowledge of this cruel practice. I am happy to volunteer my time to help get this bill passed and I do not consider myself an activist in any way. Just a caring person who believes dogs should have a voice in this world….
I’m Jordan Star, a member of CPR Pets.
Source: K-State Perspectives Webzine:
By Charlotte Clem McGowan, a dog show judge for the American Kennel Club and author of “The Shetland Sheepdog in America.” She has been a hobby dog breeder for more than 40 years.
I have debarked dogs for decades. Debarking has made it possible to keep my dogs in a residential neighborhood and be a good neighbor. Breeds like shelties were used to keep livestock out of gardens, to keep birds of prey from taking lambs and as guards and alarms. They are very, very talkative. Shelties bark for all kinds of reasons, including joy…
I too am a member of the Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets, an all-volunteer, unfunded network of pet owners or those who simply care about the welfare of cats and dogs.
I have lived in Massachusetts for my entire life and I volunteered at an animal shelter here for 8 years as well. I am a busy person, but I volunteer for CPRPets, because I love animals and I think that they deserve to be protected. I have a dog, a West Highland White Terrier. I couldn’t imagine subjecting him to this cosmetic procedure that is inhumane painful, serious, and often requires additional surgeries.
This is commonsense legislation that ends a brutal and unnecessary procedure. I thank Representative Brownsberger for his support.
I understand people’s strong feelings about this bill and I do strongly support it myself. But I feel that the discussion on this thread is getting overheated on both sides. So, I’m closing it. I think everyone has said their piece.
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