Letter to the Editor: Retire the AC gas chamber

Dear Editor,

A recent news article in the Green River Star discusses the continuing use of a gas chamber for euthanasia by Green River Animal Control. The article quoted the Animal Control Supervisor as stating there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue for the use of the gas chamber in euthanasia for animals. There are not strong opinions on both sides of this issue.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has stated the most humane method of euthanasia for animals is by injection and while they do allow for the use of inhaled as acceptable it is only when certain stringent conditions are met. The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, and the National Animal Control Association as well as all national animal welfare organizations, agree that direct injection of approved euthanasia drugs is THE most humane method of euthanasia currently available.

With the exception of one unit in Missouri and two in the state of Wyoming there are no known other functioning gas chambers in use for domestic animals in the U.S. Twenty-four states have outlawed their use completely with an additional five states having a partial ban. It is clear and has been for years that there are no differing opinions on the use of the gas chamber – it has been abandoned in most states because it is an archaic inhumane method for animal euthanasia.

Animals may struggle and become anxious during induction of gas with some animals exhibiting escape behavior prior to the onset of unconsciousness. Carbon monoxide specifically mayproduce agitation, vocalization, and convulsions. The use of gas chambers can also cause painand extreme stress in animals.

The Supervisor of Green River Animal control stated that the injection method is used the majority of the time but statistics from the city show this is not the case. It was also stated that animal control needed to do remodeling to turn a storage room into a medical room. It is surprising that an animal control facility does not currently have a medical room; additionally, The Humane Society of the United States has offered funds to the city for this type of renovation for a number of years. The City Council has been advised of this on several occasions.

It is long past the time that this outdated, inhumane method be retired - it is unfortunate that Green River is one of the last places in the nation to continue this practice. We hope that the Green River shelter will join the approximately 4,0000 animal shelters in the country that do not use the gas chamber.

Linda Burt



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