American Humane’s Bill to Ban Gas Chambers in Animal Shelters

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Michigan House Bills 6042/6043 will be heard before the House Committee on Agriculture on Wednesday, April 28, at noon. HB 6042/6043 would ensure that when the state’s unhealthy or unadoptable shelter cats and dogs are euthanized, the procedure will only be done by injection of sodium pentobarbital. This method is called “euthanasia by injection” or “EBI.” The American Humane Association considers EBI to be the only acceptable and humane means of euthanasia of animals in animal shelters.

Most shelter workers wish to hold and comfort a frightened animal in its final moments of life. That act may be the only kindness the animal has ever known. In contrast, even with vigilant oversight, euthanizing any animal by means of a carbon monoxide or dioxide gas chamber is severely inhumane to medium and large dogs, and is demoralizing to shelter workers. Such outdated practices also create a public outcry and demean the purpose of an animal shelter.

American Humane recently commissioned a study on the costs of EBI and gas chambers that proves EBI is less costlyto communities. Using data from an animal sheltering organization, the study shows that the cost to use carbon monoxide poisoning is $4.98 per animal. The cost to use EBI, however, is only $2.29 per animal.

The continual public outcry against the inhumane techniques still used in 10 of the state’s shelters illustrates a critical need for HB 6042/6043 to pass. A substitute amendment has been added to this bill to ensure that Class B dealers cannot euthanize animals they take from shelters by any method other than EBI.

HB 6042/6043 are sponsored by Reps. Rick Jones and Fred Miller, and are modeled after legislation drafted by American Humane with the assistance of the State Bar of Michigan Animal Law Section.

What:     American Humane’s House Bill 6042/6043 will be heard before the House Agriculture Committee
When:    Wednesday, April 28, from noon to 1 p.m.
Where:   House Building: 307 House Office Building, Lansing, MI
Who:      American Humane will be represented by Doug Fakkema (national expert on humane euthanasia) and Dr.  Wendy Swift (medical director of the Humane Society of Kent County, and an American Humane Association humane euthanasia trainer)

About American Humane Association

Since 1877, the historic American Humane Association has been at the forefront of every major advancement in protecting children, pets and farm animals from cruelty and abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding human-animal interaction and its role in society. As the nation’s voice for the protection of children and animals, American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.

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