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Humane Euthanasia Isn't Rocket Science

By Stephanie Feldstein on

The only reason I can imagine that gas chambers still exist in animal shelters is because people must not know that they're real. I have a hard time thinking of a bigger public relations nightmare than the idea of innocent puppies and kittens being sent to the chamber. Yet, more than half of the country still allows this slow, torturous death for their homeless animals.

This past year, half a dozen states were considering a ban on gas chambers. In November, the state of New York finally updated its euthanasia laws to ban the chambers. Intracardiac injection on conscious animals was also outlawed, except in rare exceptions, when a vet can do it, but has to explain why it was necessary. From now on, shelter animals and strays in New York will at least be afforded a more peaceful ending. Well, technically, from next November on things will get more peaceful.

Does anyone else wonder why it should take three months to shut down gas chambers and a full year to stop injecting animals in the heart?

Legislators and constituents made it as far as realizing how inhumane these practices are, so why should tens of thousands of animals still have to suffer this fate? There has to be a faster way to move this new law through the system. It's not like other methods aren't readily available or affordable. It shouldn't take a year to get the memo out to shelters, or to train technicians to find a vein instead of aiming for the heart.

Obviously, the ideal situation would be to pass laws and policies that reduce the number of animals being killed in shelters. However, the reality of putting down shelter animals isn't going away anytime soon; even in no-kill shelters, the animals deemed "unadoptable" typically aren't kept around forever and there are inevitably medical reasons for euthanasia. So, it's good to see provisions for a humane treatment of shelter animals through the end. This law has been a long time coming, and more states need to follow suit ... only they need to make it happen faster.

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