The National Animal Control Association recently adopted a new guideline for euthanasia, which says: "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 ... NACA condemns the use of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, nitrous oxide, argon, or anesthetic gases as well as physical methods such as electrocution, gunshot, and blunt force trauma for animal shelter euthanasia of dogs and cats."
While the ultimate goal is to have no more homeless pets, as long as there are still animals being euthanized at shelters, it should be done humanely. As NACA says in their new policy: "It is the responsibility of those performing euthanasia to use the best method now available and to use it with skill, compassion, and consistency."
Gas chambers take an average of thirty minutes to kill an animal. It's a slow death and can be painful. Most shelters cram multiple animals into gas chambers, causing panic and often fighting during the process. Employees at facilities where animals are gassed often speak of wearing earplugs to shut out the screaming. Some animals, like Quentin of Stray Rescue fame, come out of the gas chamber alive, amidst piles of dead bodies.
Lethal injections work much faster, are much less painful, and the last thing the animal knows is being the arms of a human.
Yet the American Veterinary Medical Association continues to support gas chambers: "Carbon monoxide used for individual animals or mass euthanasia is acceptable for dogs, cats, and other small mammals, provided the commercially compressed CO is used."
Tell the AVMA to join NACA in condemning gas chambers and recommending lethal injection as the only humane form of euthanasia.
Photo credit: lisadragon