Most shelter workers wish to hold and comfort a frightened animal in its final moments of life. That act may be the only kindness the animal has ever known. In contrast, even with vigilant oversight, euthanizing any animal by means of a carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide gas chamber is inhumane, and it is dangerous and demoralizing to the shelter workers. Such outdated and cruel practices also create a public outcry and demean the very purpose of an animal shelter.
These poor animals slowly suffocate to death, sometimes taking up to 45 minutes and multiple gassings in order to die. Animals cry, bite one another, and bleed out of their cavities, all while fully conscious. Unfortunately, the gassing does not always work properly the first time (more often than one might think). The doors open to find an animal frightened, in pain, and struggling for breath. For that extremely unlucky animal they are then made to suffer through another torturous gassing. It is a common misconception used for argument that gassing is less expensive than lethal injection (EBI=Euthanasia By Injection). In reality, according to research done by the American Humane Association, to kill an animal by carbon monoxide poisoning costs $4.98 per animal versus $2.29 per animal by EBI.
Then there is the heartstick method of killing an animal, a lethal injection that is jabbed into the heart. The main problem, however, is that quite often the method and injection are not done right, and the animal may be subjected to numerous stabbings of the injection before it is killed. The proper method of the heartstick method of euthanizing an animal is to be done only after the animal has been sedated, yet it is not uncommon that sedation is not used.
Daniel’s Law, if passed, prohibits certain inhumane means of destruction of animals and the exclusive use of sodium pentobarbital (lethal injection) or a derivative for dogs and cats.
It is a tragedy that 3 to 4 million shelter animals must be euthanized every year, but until a solution is reached, the final moments for these animals must be humane. Although some states have already banned the use of these cruel chambers and methods, these archaic practices should be banned on a national level.
Daniel’s Law – Senate Bill 1329 http://www.senatordinniman.com/enews/pdf/1329DogGassingText.pdf