On May 10, Governor Rick Perry signed a bill that immediately bans gas chamber euthanasia for homeless pets throughout the state of Texas.
The bills to ban gas chambers and require homeless pets be euthanized by sodium pentobarbital injection (EBI) were introduced by Representative Eddie Lucio III and Senator Kirk Watson earlier this year and had gained support from the public and a number of animal advocacy organizations, including the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
Watson called gassing a “cruel, expensive and unsafe” method for euthanizing unwanted animals.
“Prior to the Texas Euthanasia Act of 2003, Texas shelters were killing dogs and cats by drowning, shooting, clubbing, strangling, and by carbon monoxide poisoning from truck and car exhaust systems hooked up to makeshift plywood boxes. The 2003 law prohibited most of these methods, limiting shelters to two methods: carbon monoxide gassing or sodium pentobarbital (euthanasia by injection/EBI),” wrote Watson in the bill’s analysis.
Sadly, more than 100,000 dogs and cats are still being euthanized every year in Texas shelters, and carbon monoxide was still being used in approximately 30 of these facilities, according to the THLN, which pointed out that the 2003 law was weakened by not requiring gas chambers to be commercially built.
The gas used, typically carbon monoxide, can affect each animal differently and can subject them to prolonged fear, stress and suffering, along with causing aggressive behavior when multiple animals are gassed together. Unconsciousness and death don’t occur until there is enough buildup of gas in the lungs, which can take up to 30 minutes and cause terrified animals to suffer needlessly. Gas chambers also pose a threat to the safety and well being of shelter workers.
It’s bad enough that millions of homeless pets are being killed in shelters every year, at the very least they deserve better than having their last moments on earth filled with the horrors of a gas chamber. There is absolutely no reason for the shelters who still use them to do so when there is a safer, more humane and less expensive alternative available via lethal injection. EBI is widely considered a more humane method for euthanasia and is supported by a number of organizations, including the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Animal Control Association.
As for the rest of the homeless pets in the country who still face the possibility of being gassed, Congressman Jim Moran just reintroduced House Resolution 208 to oppose the use of gas chamber euthanasia. While the resolution won’t ban gas chambers, it will show congressional disapproval for their use. It also calls for states to adopt the more humane method of euthanasia via lethal injection and seeks to ensure that shelter workers have ready access to training and certification for humane euthanasia techniques.
Please sign and share the petition asking your representative to support this resolution.
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