N.C. Euthanasia Regulations Go Into Effect
|July 7, 2008||Posted by russmead under Gas Chambers|
Last year animal welfare supporters throughout North Carolina called for a legislative review of proposed rules governing euthanasia of dogs and cats at animal shelters in the state.
A non-profit animal welfare organization, the North Carolina Coalition for Humane Euthanasia, opposed what it called "last-minute changes" made by Department of Agriculture officials that took "the teeth out of regulations originally intended to ensure the humane treatment of homeless animals." The rules can be found online by clicking here.
A state law passed in 2005 required the Department of Agriculture to establish standards for the care of animals at animal shelters, boarding kennels, pet shops, and public auctions. The law also required that the department adopt rules on the euthanasia of animals and mandate training for any person who participates in the process. This law can be viewed online by clicking here.
Two years later, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture released a proposed set of regulations.
Thousands of North Carolina citizens responded by submitting verbal and written testimony in opposition to the inhumane and dangerous practice of gassing animals for euthanasia.
The Agriculture Department later published a new draft of proposed rules that required a phase out of the gas chamber by 2012.
However, the final version of the rules removes the phase out requirement and lifts restrictions on the use of the gas chambers for sick, injured and geriatric animals. It also eliminates some requirements related to training and certification of euthanasia technicians.
"The Department has violated the public trust by putting one set of rules before the public and then drastically weakening them behind closed doors," said Shari Strader, board member for NCCHE. "The Agriculture Department must be held accountable for failing to meet its responsibility to the public and its mandate to develop humane euthanasia standards for animals."
North Carolina residents’ taxes pay for the salaries of state decision makers, as well as funding county shelters and gas chambers. "I don’t think people realize they are footing the bill for the choices that are being made by the Agriculture Department regarding animal welfare issues and euthanasia methods," states Bobbi Parke, animal advocate. "If they only knew half of what is going on in this arena, and that they actually do have a say in choices that are being made for them, they would all immediately contact the Agriculture Department and demand accountability."
The rules also require shelters using gas chambers to purchase new commercial models. Two North Carolina companies supplying gas chambers to shelters have come under fire, after inspections showed that the machines leaked high levels of carbon monoxide and endangered county employees.
According to NCCHE, "A quarter of a million cats and dogs are killed in North Carolina animal shelters annually. While most jurisdictions now utilize modern euthanasia practices, more than 30 county facilities continue to use the gas chamber. Extreme animal suffering in the gas chamber is well-documented."
These humane concerns were the catalyst for the original rule making process.