Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Animal Gas Chambers

I need to share a shocker that I read about on I have never heard of this issue before.. that animal shelters across the U.S. use gas chambers to kill homeless animals slowly and torturously. Read the actual article here.

According to a response to the article by Mary Cook:

"As of 04/02/2009 Twelve states currently ban carbon monoxide gas chamber use as a means of animal euthanasia.

New Jersey
Rhode Island

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, West Virginia and Pennsylvania have legislation pending, according to Kimberley Intino, director of the Shelter Services Program for the Humane Society of the United States."

What are gas chambers? 

They are airtight chambers that release a high concentration carbon monoxide, a gas euthanasia, and slowly kill cats and dogs through lack of oxygen. The process of gassing animals takes about 25 minutes and most animals are unconscious within a minute. (source: )

So it doesn't sound too bad right? It sounds like a painless process where animals inhale carbon monoxide gas and sleep to death. However, it is nothing like a gentle or painless death.

The animals gasp for air, panic, and attack each other during the process, while trying to claw their way out. It is not only a painful but terrifying death.

The only acceptable method of euthanizing animals is by injecting sodium pentobarbital, a barbiturate anesthetic, into their veins. This is the only method that allows for a quick death without the pain and stress.

Although euthanizing animals via injection involves more staff labor and training, it is the most cost-effective and least expensive, according to the Michigan Humane Society. (source:

Here is a personal account of someone that witnessed the gassing of animals...

"A personal transformation took over my life in 1988, when I was a
witness, through a small porthole window, of an animal shelter gas
chamber doing its savage business.

Two of the employees began pulling and tugging larger dogs toward the chamber -- this, in itself, was savage. The eyes of the dogs were full of fear as they were shoved into a large cylinder with another six dogs, all types. Next, five puppies were placed in the chamber.

Noise. Yelling. Fighting. All scared, they shivered again and again,
their eyes huge, their nostrils flaring. They were completely
bewildered. One dog in the chamber, a male chow mix about one year old, started snapping at the puppies. All the dogs and puppies were in a desperate struggle, and the gassing had yet to begin.

Then a button was pushed, and the two employees walked away as the chamber machine began pumping out streams of carbon monoxide. The little puppies started to paw at the glass window. After one full minute they started to whine and then produced a piercing squeal. Then the larger dogs started a high, mournful wailing, then a deeper howl that rose in great desperation for 45 seconds.

That morning of my witness, the time from inception of hell for the
dogs and puppies, to the completion of their cries of desperation, was between two and six minutes.

As the employees walked away, I knew it was my love, my honor, my devotion to animals that I must not blink and watch every second, every animal struggle to avoid death. However, tears from my heart did overwhelm me that tragic morning, and the final insult was having to load the bodies of the dogs and puppies into a pickup truck and haul them to a local garbage dump."

Loves, the only way to stop this very inhumane way of killing unwanted animals is to be aware and open your mind to the facts, as well as spread the word to others. I believe it takes only a little prod of the first piece of the domino chain to get the word around and impact the animal shelters, policymakers and legislature.

Also, because overpopulation is such a problem and the root of euthanizing millions of animals every year, it would help a LOT if you spayed/neutered your pets or adopt a friendly pet from your local animal shelter.. an animal that may not be given a chance at life without your help. I adopted my cat when she was a baby at Animal Care & Control in SF, and she is truly my love. I can not imagine being without her and I know that she is a blessing to my life. Other animals in the streets and at the shelters deserve to be fed, loved, and sheltered- it is not their fault for being homeless or born into this world.

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