Update May 13: The Judiciary II Committee in the North CarolinaÂ House has said no to a pro-gas chamber bill. By a vote of 7-5, the committee killed the bill.Â It is now dead for this session.Â This is thanks to your faxes, emails and calls.
For more on this bill, H.B. 27, read Animal Law Coalition’s report below.
Update May 7: The North Carolina House Agriculture Committee has voted to pass HB 27.Â
The originalÂ billÂ was re-written, andÂ the final language was withheld from the public until after the vote.Â Go here for aÂ copy.
The secrecy was probablyÂ to limit protests. This bill now sanctions the useÂ of CO gas for killing all shelter animals. In fact, use of CO gas chambers is now one ofÂ 2 methods that must be used in killing shelter animals. CO gas chambers would be elevated by HB 27Â as not only an acceptable means of killing shelter animals but one sanctioned and even preferred by the state. This bill will mean it is less likely that North Carolina shelters will stop using gas chambers.Â
The other method of euthanasia allowed is intravenous or intraperitoneal injection of sodium pentobarbital or an equivalent drug.Â Â
HB 27 does not indicate one method is preferred over the other, meaning the state would sanction both equally. Even the AVMA and NCVMA recognize lethal injection is the humane, preferred alternative.Â Â
It is not clear why proponents bothered to pass the bill other than to ensure the continued availability of CO gas chambers. The bill does nothing for animals and makes no changes regarding other methods of killing that are not already addressed by the state Dept. of Agriculture rules regarding euthanasia. The bill also does not improve upon or make changes in the use of CO gas chambers that is not already required by the rules.
Under HB 27 a veterinarian, certified euthanasia technician or a probationary CET working under the supervision of a veterinarian, has complete discretion to choose the method of killing: CO gas chambers or lethal injection.Â Â A log must be kept of theÂ method of killing used for each animal, the identity of the person performing the killingÂ and the reason for the particular method.Â Â
This move to entrench the use of CO gas chambers by public shelters should probably come as no surprise.Â Ralph Houser, DVM,Â manufactures gas chambers and also sells them to North Carolina shelters and instructs them on their use.Â He sits on the North Carolina Animal Rabies Control Association.Â For more on Houser, go here. Â Houser together with North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association, Farm Bureau,Â North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and the state Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services, worked on HB 27 to assure the continuation of CO gas chambers in North Carolina’s animal shelters.Â
WHAT YOU CAN DO
There is an anti-gas chamber bill, Davie’s Law, thatÂ has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Hoyle as SB 199.Â Â The bill is stalled, however, and it is important that you contact Sen. Hoyle and urge him to keep his campaign promise and pass the bill he has introduced, S.B. 199, Davie’s Law.Â Go here for more. Â Act now because the bill must pass the Senate before the May 14 crossover date!
Also, HB 27 now goes to the Judiciary II Committee. There will be a vote on this billÂ shortlyÂ before the May 14 crossover date so act now! PLEASE write and callÂ the members of the andÂ ask them toÂ OPPOSE House Bill 27.Â Â
Find all North Carolina Assembly members here including your own if you live in the state. Write or call and urge them to vote NO on HB 27. Â Â Â Â
Original report: There are 2 bills pending in the North Carolina legislature concerning euthanasia of shelter animals:Â One is Davie’s Law, S.B. 199, supported by Animal Law Coalition, American Humane Association, ASPCA, National Animal Control Association, In Defense of Animals, Born Free USA,Â HSUS and dozens of North Carolina animal welfare groups, shelters, and veterinarians.
Thousands of citizens and dozens of legislators have already endorsed Davie’s Law, S.B. 199.Â
The other bill is H.B. 27.
Let North Carolina legislators know that you prefer Davie’s Law, S.B. 199.
Here’s why Davie’s Law is the much better bill:Â Â
Unlike Davie’s Law, H.B. 27 endorses and supports use of CO gas chambers inÂ North Carolina shelters for all animals. Â It leaves shelter workersÂ exposed to dangerous CO gas. Attached for downloading isÂ a compilation of inspection reports that show shelter workers are and have been exposed to dangerous CO gas from leaking or malfunctioning animal gas chambers in North Carolina. There have also been explosions.
Exposure even to low levels of CO gas can mean blurred vision, headaches, tinnitus, nausea, mental illness or impairment, convulsions, muscle spasms, cancer, cardiovascular disease and death.Â A summary of studies is attached below and can be downloaded.
Why should the state continue to allow their use at all?Â Â Â
CO gas chambers are considered so inhumane and so unsafe for workers that they are illegal in several states and used by few public shelters around the country. In North Carolina 64 counties use lethal injection. Â
Proponents of gassing say it is necessary for aggressive, diseased or distressed animals, but obviously most shelters euthanize them without CO gas.Â
The AVMA and NCVMA have no studies to prove CO gas chambers are humane when used in public shelters.
Indeed, the suffering of animals dying in a gas chamber has been documented by NC inspectors. There are numerous reports of animals suffering as they die in gas chambers. Some animals have even survived this ghastly process only to be gassed again. No one can say it is not a painful, cruel death. The AVMA’s Â 2007 Euthanasia report acknowledges that until there is sufficient build up of gas in the lungs, animals experience a great deal of agitation: "distress vocalization (this means barking, crying, howling), struggling, attempts to escape, defensive or redirected aggression, salivation, urination, defecation" and more. Â Â The AVMA report states in mammals, meaning dogs and cats, it may take longer to lose consciousness.
Gas chambers in NC do not use a gauge to measure the level of CO. Without a gauge, it is impossible to know when or if the animals lose consciousness or the suffering they endure until then.
There is no reason for such danger and cruelty in our public shelters.
Also,Â a cost study of euthanasia in North Carolina shelters establishes euthanasia by injection is not only safer for workers and humane for animals, it is cheaper.Â (The study is attached below for downloading.) Why continue the use of costly animal gas chambers? Â