Update February 13, 2008: The Virginia Senate has passed by a vote of 40-0 the bill to ban gas chambers in Virginia!
For more on this bill, read the reports below.
Update January 28, 2008: The Virginia House has unanimously passed a ban on animal gas chambers. Now called H.B. 5, the bill willÂ next be considered by the state Senate.Â Â
As Lillian Clancy of Virginia Voters for Animal Welfare put it, "This is theÂ bill to outlaw gas chambers forever in Virginia….This is the year it will happen."
Gas chambers are dangerous to the operator.Â Carbon monoxide is cumulative and builds up in the system and hasÂ been the cause of at least one death of chamber operator (in Tennessee which thenÂ outlawed gas)
Operators often have been given insufficient training in using gas, particularlyÂ when using it in a closed room, or when opening the chamber after useÂ because "certification" of the gas chamber is done by a mish-mash of "experts". There isÂ little reason to be certain chamber isn’t leaking.
Gas chambers are inhumane to the animals. They areÂ frequently dragged into the box and forcibly stuffed inÂ illegally (i.e., when animals are put in together with no separation). The animals struggle to get free and attack each other; this has happened in VirginiaÂ even inÂ 2007. Though the chamber is to be manufactured and capable of being cleaned betweenÂ uses, they are frequently made by hand of cinderblock or wood which defies beingÂ suitably and compliantly cleaned, meaning the next animal dies in the box with urine and fecesÂ from previousÂ animals.
EBI (euthanasia by injection), when done in accordance with Virginia law, is lessÂ expensiveÂ than using gasÂ following the steps required by the state, each gassing cycle requires about 45Â minutes, and is one dog (possibly two cats) per cycle;Â EBI, even with a sedativeÂ followed by the lethal injection, takes far less timeÂ calculations of the cost based on much shorter time for EBI and approximate payÂ of animal control officer doing either gassing or EBI confirm; some placesÂ contract forÂ EBI at approximately $7.00 per animal. Using animal records information from the State Vet, it can be shown that, inÂ some jurisdictions, about 50% of an animal control officer’s time – HALF theÂ working time – is spent gassing animals – if Virginia law is being followed.