Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Animal Advocates Seek End to Carbon Monoxide Euthanasia for Shelter Animals in Texas

Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN)

Representative Eddie Lucio III (D) and Senator Kirk Watson (D) filed bills (H.B. 858/S.B. 360) to end shelter euthanasia of dogs and cats by carbon monoxide and only allow euthanasia by sodium pentobarbital injection (EBI). Both bills have gained the support of Texas based animal welfare group Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) as well as national organizations including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). More than 100,000 dogs and cats are euthanized every year in Texas shelters, and euthanasia by carbon monoxide is still used in approximately 30 shelters.

"While I cringe at the thought of any animal being put down, I want to ensure that it is being done in the most humane way possible," says Representative Eddie Lucio . "Texas is already trending away from using gas as a means for euthanasia, and this bill will further that effort by preventing the use altogether."

There has been a recent nationwide trend to eliminate this outdated method of euthanasia. U.S. Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va) introduced House Resolution 736 in July of 2012, which opposes gas chamber euthanasia and supports state laws only allowing lethal injection. Within the last year, both Pennsylvania and Louisiana banned gas chambers. More than 30 Texas cities switched from carbon monoxide euthanasia to sodium pentobarbital injection within the last five years. This switch in Texas cities large (Sherman, Texas) and small (Seagoville, Texas), demonstrates an overwhelming change in attitude towards shelter euthanasia.

"SB 360 is an effort to assure humane end-of-life treatment for homeless animals," says Senator Kirk Watson . "As a pet owner, I've made end-of-life choices that demonstrated sensitivity and respect for the animals I've loved. Animals living in shelters deserve that same consideration."

EBI is professionally recommended, and virtually every shelter agency, along with all leading veterinary medical associations, animal control associations, and humane organizations recommend EBI. This includes the Texas Animal Control Association and the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. Additionally, studies show that EBI is more humane than gas, is safer for shelter workers and is cost neutral. The word euthanasia means "good death" and death by gas chamber does not meet this definition.

"With more than 1,000 Texas cities euthanizing their shelter dogs and cats without gas, we hope that the 30 or so remaining shelter facilities will see that they, too, can stop using gas," said Shelby Bobosky , THLN Legislative Chair. "Our hope is that with the passage of this bill, Texans can give what may have been a sad life for a dog or cat, a painless and peaceful end," added Erin Shults , D.V.M. and THLN director.

The Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) is a 501(c)(4) charitable organization that has been promoting the humane treatment of animals through legislation, education, and advocacy since 1975. For more information, visit
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