Position Statement

Home / Position Statements / Gassing of Shelter Animals

Gassing of Shelter Animals

Euthanizing shelter animals by carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide is inhumane to animals and harmful to humans

American Humane believes that euthanizing shelter animals by carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide is inhumane to the animal and harmful to humans. American Humane considers euthanasia by injection (EBI) to be the only acceptable and humane means of euthanasia for all shelter animals.

Most shelter workers wish to hold and comfort an animal in its final moments of life. In contrast, even with vigilant oversight, euthanizing dogs and cats by means of a carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide gas chamber is inhumane and is demoralizing to the shelter workers. Such outdated and cruel practices also create public outcry and demean the very purpose of an animal shelter.

A Michigan gas chamber

It is a national tragedy that 3 to 4 million shelter animals must be euthanized every year. Until a solution is reached, the final moments for these animals must be humane.

Banning Gas Chambers: A Fight You Can Help Us Win

There are a number of states still allow the gassing of animals. Therefore, starting in 2009, American Humane launched an initiative to ban gas chambers in animal shelters and will continue in this work until the gassing ends.

To help our efforts, American Humane commissioned a study comparing the cost of EBI and gas chambers that proves EBI is less costly to communities. Using data from an animal sheltering organization, the study showed 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. See the 2009 EBI cost study.

What Can You Do?

If you live in a state that still allows gas chamber euthanasia, you can do the following:

Make A Donation