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EBI vs. CO

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Our shelter currently uses a CO chamber for euthanasia, but in line with American Humane Association’s position on euthanasia by injection (EBI), we would like to move to this practice. What does the transition involve?

The CO chamber is still used by many shelters to perform euthanasia, and the typical reasons given for using CO over EBI are that it costs less and is easier emotionally on the shelter staff. However, this is not true. Shelters should consider the following issues when moving to EBI:

Financial: If done according to AVMA standards, the costs to use a CO chamber are comparable to the costs for using EBI. It is only less expensive to use the CO chamber if animals are euthanized in non-approved, unsafe equipment or through use of inhumane methods. The costs involved in moving to EBI may be for initial training and certification, if required by your state, and later for purchase of the sodium pentobarbital, the drug used for EBI.

Emotional: Many shelter workers want to do what’s best for the animals in their care. It is difficult for them to put animals in the CO chamber and then walk away to escape witnessing or hearing the potential panic of an animal before unconsciousness sets in. Most workers would prefer to be able to hold and comfort the animal during euthanasia, which is possible with EBI. This may help shelter workers feel that their euthanasia method is more humane for the animals in their care, and it may take less of an emotional toll on them.

Logistical: Many states require EBI training and certification, which adds to the initial time and costs involved in moving to EBI. You can check with your state animal control or humane society association or state attorney general’s office to learn the requirements for your state. American Humane Association provides information on EBI training dates and locations on its web site, and our Animal Protection Services group can give your shelter step-by-step advice to help you upgrade to EBI.

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