Rep. Moran Calls for End to Animal Gas Chambers

IMG_0284U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) has introduced once again his resolution opposing the use of gas chambers to kill shelter animals, H. Res. 208. The resolution calls for states to alternatively use established injectable euthanasia drugs and ensure that appropriate training and certification in these methods is widely available.

“Using gas chambers to kill shelter animals is unnecessarily cruel, causing these animals to suffer in the last moments of their life. This resolution would bring more attention to this unacceptable practice,” said Rep. Moran. “With the continued advocacy of compassionate citizens, I hope we can stamp out this inhumane practice.” The resolution calls upon states to require, when euthanasia is deemed a necessary course of action, the use of established injectable euthanasia agents.

Each year, 6-8 million animals are placed into the care of our nation’s local animal shelters. Unfortunately, nearly half of these animals are euthanized.

Gas chambers also threaten the safety of shelter workers,causing the death of at least one human and severely injuring several others in recent years. By comparison, the use of euthanasia by injection causes animals to lose consciousness and brain function before their vital organs shut down, decreasing suffering and resulting in rapid clinical death.
In the past few years a number of states have banned the use of animal gas chambers. Notably, Texas Gov. Rick Perry just signed into law on May 10, 2013 a bill, S.B. 360, banning use of carbon monoxide gas to kill dogs and cats in shelters in that state. The new law makes sodium pentobarbital injection, also known as euthanasia by injection (EBI), the state’s only approved method of euthanasia for dogs and cats in shelters.

In 2012 Pennsylvania shut down the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers for most animals. In 2011 Alabama banned gas chambers in shelters.

The National Animal Control Association (NACA) issued the following policy statement in September, 2010: “NACA considers lethal injection of sodium pentobarbital, administered by competent, trained personnel, to be the only method of choice utilized for humane euthanasia of animal shelter dogs and cats.”

Also, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians agrees, stating flatly that “the use of carbon monoxide for individual or mass companion animal euthanasia in shelters is unacceptable due to significant humane, operational and safety concerns…[C]arbon monoxide euthanasia should be banned in shelters.”

Even the American Veterinary Association is or was considering a ban on use of carbon monoxide gas chambers for “routine euthanasia” of dogs and cats.

Go here to call on your U.S. Representative to support H.Res. 208!