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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

24 September 2002 Issue

 Federal Law for HUMANE Euthanasia

A REASONABLE PROPOSAL
BY JIM WILLIS

Every day, my inbox is full of messages begging for help to save animals in kill shelters where the "euthanasia" practices are beyond belief - homemade gas chambers constructed of used oil drums and powered by the exhaust from a tractor or animal control truck, a part-time school janitor paid to shoot animals after they are turned out in a fenced area, tales of animals put into a freezer who aren't even dead, and worse. I'm also deluged by petitions to sign, letters to write in support of various state bills (a new one in OH, HB 623, will specifically prohibit shooting, although the final wording of the bill hasn't been decided on). Time and again, when I talk about these murderous acts, people ask me "how is that legal?" Well, it shouldn't be!

FACT: Millions of animals are euthanized each year in the US & Canada, and many by unacceptable methods.

FACT: The only acceptable, cruelty-free method of euthanasia is sedation followed by lethal injection.

FACT: The States have, for the most part, totally ignored this issue because the compassionate solution costs $$$.

We need a federal law NOW that makes everything but lethal IV injection illegal. Yes, this will put local and state governments in a terrible predicament - they will have to train euthanasia technicians, they will learn how few people can survive in such a job, and they are going to have a terrible over-crowding problem in their shelters when they learn that humane practices require time and money.

Instead of being able to ignore the cruel practices they support by their apathy and inaction, instead of cheap mass-killing, they will be forced to realize that spaying/neutering must be required by every shelter in N. America, that hey will need government-funded programs in order to accomplish that, and they will need education campaigns and the expertise of national groups already devoted to such issues.

Personally, I believe that by passing one federal law on humane euthanasia practices, we may be providing the final straw that breaks the camel's back (terrible analogy for an animal advocate, isn't it?). In fact, if we really want to break the bank, I suggest we also add in that it be illegal for shelters to turn animals over to Class B animal dealers.

Thousands of us, especially volunteers, have been exhausting ourselves trying to deal with this huge animal welfare crisis while local and state governments have ignored their responsibilities. The current administration seems bent on imposing its federal will in all matters; perhaps the time has come to score a national victory for the animals. Imagine what we could accomplish if we all worked together on just this one campaign?

Please consider asking any animal-related group you are a member of to support a national campaign for a humane federal euthanasia of animals law, and ask your elected representatives to sponsor such a bill. You can find them all at: http://www.congress.org/ - and consider writing your own letter to an editor on this issue.

I'll appreciate this message being cross-posted to even breed-specific lists that don't allow "animal rights" posts - this is NOT animal "rights" - this is an attempt to stop the cruel murder of animals already betrayed by humanity, and a high percentage of those are purebred animals.

Thank you.
Jim
The Tiergarten Sanctuary Trust: jwillis@bellatlantic.net
http://www.crean.com/jimwillis

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