Michigan Animal Shelter Gas Chamber Ban Passes State Senate

Michigan state Senate on Thursday voted to ban gas chambers used to euthanize dogs and cats at animal shelters.

According to the Huffington Post, the practice of gassing animals has spurred strong objections from animal rights activists.

Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) introduced Senate Bill 354, which passed 37-0. It will next be up for consideration in the House.

“I wish no dog ever had to be put down, but if it has to happen we must ensure that it is done humanely as possible,” Jones said in a statement.

“When I was the Eaton County Sheriff, I ran the local animal shelter. I know that shots are quick, painless and are the most humane way to put down an animal.”

The San Francisco Chronicle stated that similar legislation stalled in 2010 and 2012, but Jones said he has addressed concerns from groups representing farmers and veterinarians.

The report continued on to say that in June, the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association’s board took the stance that using gas to euthanize shelter dogs and cats is not acceptable.

In a fact sheet from the American Humane Association, the nonprofit organization listed the reasons euthanizing by injection (EBI) should be used over gas chambers:

  • IF successful, the gas chamber can take up to 25 to 30 minutes to end an animal’s life, whereas EBI causes loss of consciousness within 3 to 5 seconds and clinical death within 2 to 5 minutes. EBI causes animals to lose consciousness and brain function before their vital organs shut down. In a chamber, however, animals lose consciousness and brain function only after their vital organs shut down, causing prolonged suffering and distress.
  • EBI is the method preferred by the National Animal Control Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, and The Humane Society of the United States.
  • The animals don’t always die in gas chambers, as documented by the fact that a dog survived the St. Louis, MO Animal Regulation Center’s gas chamber in 2003 and a puppy survived the Davie County, NC Animal Shelter’s gas chamber in 2005.
  • Referring to the horrors of carbon monoxide, Doug Fakkema, the nation’s animal euthanasia expert, has stated: ―[t]he animal is in a warm or hot box, usually with other animals. They don’t know what is going on. The hiss of the gas is going on inside. They get dizzy, and then they panic. Fights can break out, and animals’ calls can sometimes be heard.

The Huffington Post stated that more than 20 states still allow the practice of gas chambers to put down animals, though some have recently outlawed it.

The animal shelter gas chamber ban still has to go through the House, and many animal activists are hoping that it this bill does become law, and even more hope that it will eventually become national law.

[Image via Shutterstock/KITSANANAN]