Aug. 29: Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has now signed into law S.B. 38, a bill restricting the use of gas chambers.Â
Update June 30: Illinois S.B. 38, which restricts but does not ban use of CO gas chambers, has passed the legislature and has been sent toÂ Governor Pat Quinn. Â Â
Though IL Senate Bill 38, introduced by state Sen. Heather Stearns, is being touted as a ban on gas chambers, it does not stop their use.
Instead, the bill would amend the Humane Care for Animals Act, 510 ILCS 70/3.02, by allowing a licensed veterinarian to kill companion animals using compressed carbon monoxide in a commercially manufactured gas chamber.
But it would constitute the crime of aggravated cruelty, a felony, Class 4 on the first offense, Class 3 for subsequent offenses,Â for anyone else to kill an animal usingÂ carbon monoxide or authorize the killing of an animal in this way.Â 510 ILCS 70/3.02. That means companion animal breeders and dealersÂ as well as shelters.
In addition to forcing public shelters to pay the cost of having a licensed veterinarian present if they insist on gassing,Â there would be a number of other restrictions.
The veterinarian would be required to be present during the gassing and for each animal killed this way, must give a description and a signed statement that use of the gas chamber is the most humane way to kill the animal.
It’s hard to imagine any veterinarian could ever in good conscious use the gas chamber for any animal.
The bill would require the licensed veterinarian to follow AVMA guidelines. Specifically, the "interior of the chamber must be well lit and equipped with view-ports, a regulator, and a flow meter. Monitoring equipment must be used at all times…Animals that are under 4 months of age, old, injured, or sick may not be euthanized" by CO gas. Animals must be killed one at a time and each must remain in the gas chamber for at least 20 minutes.
The bill would require the staff to be warned of potential health risks.
The bill would also ban use of a decompression chamber and carbon dioxide gas.
IL SB 38 would further require euthanasia technicians to become re-certified every 5Â years. They could do this by proving they attended a course or class approved by AHA, HSUS, NACA or Illinois Humane Federation of Humane Societies.
The bill would restrict those convicted of certain felony offense from becoming certified euthanasia technicians. Those offenses include forcible felonies, weapons violations, certain drug offenses, violations of the Humane Care for Animals Act including animal fighting or other animal cruelty or fighting laws.
The department would be required to revoke or refuse to issue or renew any euthanasia technician’s certification and could impose fines up to $10,000 for failure to scan for microchips prior to euthanasia, humanely euthanize animals with injections administered according to state requirements, or maintain security of all controlled substances and drugs; or for stealing, selling or giving away controlled substances or drugs or otherwise violating drug laws; violating animal welfare laws, or for acting outside the scope of authority.
A euthanasia agency can lose certification by failing to maintain the security of controlled substances or drugs or comply with drug laws or for allowing an unauthorized person to perform euthanasia procedures.