Texas is not exactly known for its leniency when it comes to capital punishment. But when you’re talking about gasing innocent and neglected animals, that’s where the stateís legislators draw the line. Unanimously.
According to the American Humane Association, as many as four million shelter animals are euthanized every year. This week, the Texas Senate is trying to make at least some of those more humane, as it unanimously approved legislation that bans carbon monoxide for pet euthanasia.†There’s also a bill addressing the same issue waiting to be voted on in the House.
The author of the bill, Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, says carbon monoxide is used with gas chambers and sometimes hooked up to an idling automobile (yes, you read that right). Gas chambers are being used to euthanize dogs and cats in 29 Texas shelters.
If that doesn’t sound cruel enough, just a decade ago, it was even worse. It took The Texas Euthanasia Act of 2003 to keep animal shelters from drowning, shooting, clubbing and strangling animals.
Drowning? Strangling? Clubbing? What kind of people worked in these shelters before 2003? Not animal lovers.
All that was left was carbon monoxide poisoning and sodium pentobarbital injections, the latter clearly the most humane of the two.
According to Karen Brooks Harper of the Dallas Morning News, one sponsor of the companion bill in the House says some people in shelters have griped that “itís easier and more efficient for them to use the gas over the injection.”
Sometimes easier isn’t a good enough reason.
Twenty-nine shelters in Texas are still using carbon monoxide. That soon will change.