The Reality of Animal Gas Chambers
What Really Happens
The use of gas chambers for euthanasia in animal shelters is legal in many states, but that doesn't make it any less of a barbaric form of torture for innocent, unwanted animals who are unfairly subjected to its fate.
It's not as innocent as you may be lead to believe; the animals don't just take one breath of the gas and drift off into unconsciousness. That's what animal lovers like myself desperately want to believe. But it's not the truth.
So what really happens once the chamber door is shut in the face of whimpering animals? A shelter worker turns on the gas, and carbon monoxide is pumped into the probably-overcrowded chamber.
It can take up to 40 minutes of agony for the carbon monoxide to build up in the animals' lungs in order to finally kill them. Here are the true, cold hard facts of what the animals experience during this torture, and suggestions that will help put an end to animal gas chambers and how to protect an animal from landing in such a situation in the first place.
The carbon monoxide causes the animals' eyes and nose to burn. They howl in pain. The cells in their body reject the carbon monoxide, and keep the animals from inhaling any oxygen. Therefore, they suffocate to death.
The frightened animals snap at each other and often fight. Baby puppies (yes, they are in there, too) begin to paw desperately on the chamber walls, trying to escape. They frantically dig their noses underneath the door, trying to get a breath of fresh air. This is truly heartbreaking.
3. Sometimes The Pain Isn't Enough
Some animals have to suffer a second round of the torture chamber because they didn't die the first time.
4. How Can You Stop and Prevent This?
Spay/neuter your pets. Quit making excuses, and take responsibility for them. They depend on you to take care of them and protect them, so don't let them down. If you don't want to breed your animals, don't let it happen, or chances are, those adorable baby pups or kittens will wind up in an animal shelter, where they are more than likely to get euthanized, due to the fact that there are too many neglected pets and not enough homes. And the next time you're longing for a furry friend, adopt an animal from your local shelter rather than getting one from a pet store. By doing this, you are discouraging the operation of cruel puppy mills, and at the same time, you are saving an animal from Death Row. Also, protest the use of animal gas chambers! There are online petitions available to sign up against the use of gas chambers in your state, or perhaps anywhere else in the country. Unlike these poor animals, you have a voice, so use it to help those out who cannot speak up against injustice. Social networking sites, Facebook in particular, has a "Cause" page dedicated to those who want to ban gas chambers, and on the site, people are given the opportunities to sign petitions, recruit our friends to do the same, and perhaps donate a bit of money to help support and feed the animals in the shelter. It wouldn't hurt to pitch in. More money means more food and space for new animals, which means a greater chance of living longer in that place.
I would like to ask the state of Texas to ban animal gas chambers. 31 Texas cities still use carbon monoxide chambers instead of injection. In honor of National Justice for Animals Week FEB 19-25, I have started an online petition to BAN ANIMAL GAS CHAMBERS IN Texas. http://www.change.org/petitions/ban-animal-gas-chambers-in-texas. If it is wrong in one state, it should be wrong in all states.
Texas should pass a law similar to other states that have banned these chambers. If an animal has to be put down, euthanize companion animals and shelter pets via an injection of sodium pentobarbital (referred to as EBI, for euthanasia by injection). EBI is accepted by all national veterinary and humane organizations as the most humane method currently available for euthanasia. When performed properly by trained personnel, EBI is painless to the animal, and begins to take effect within seconds.
Gas chambers are ineffective and inefficient. The gas chamber cannot be humanely used for the majority of animals that require euthanasia, including the old, very young, sick, pregnant, or injured. Even under the best of circumstances, animals can only be gassed one at a time, and the 25 or more minutes it can take to end that animal’s life can be agonizing. At least one Michigan shelter has indicated that sometimes more than one animal is put into the chamber.
Gas chambers are more expensive. Recent studies have proven that EBI, including the costs of permitting and acquiring euthanasia drugs, actually costs less than using a gas chamber.
Gas chambers pose a danger to shelter staff. Carbon monoxide is highly toxic and is one of the leading causes of accidental poisoning in the United States. Animal shelter workers have been injured and even killed by malfunctioning gas chambers.
Training and funding for EBI is readily available. Grants may be obtained for initial EBI set-up and training in EBI procedures and with gas chamber buyback and disposal. State law should permit trained shelter technicians to directly administer euthanasia drugs without supervision by a veterinarian, and a majority of shelters are licensed to receive EBI drugs directly. Statewide regulation is needed to ensure that all Texas pets receive the same humane treatment if euthanasia is necessary.
Thanking you in advance for your time and attention to this matter.
“I believe that animals deserve to be treated with respect, even in death.”
– Debra Pinegar, Denton, Texas