ALDF Petition leads to Ban on Puppy Gassing in North Carolina SheltersPosted on December 9, 2014
Gas Chambers Become History As Tar Heel State Prohibits Painful Method of Euthanizing Cats and Dogs
For immediate release:
Megan Backus, ALDF
Lisa Franzetta, ALDF
RALEIGH — The North Carolina Board of Agriculture has announced it will now prohibit gas chambers in the “routine euthanasia of cats and dogs”—a decision following an April 2014 petition for rulemaking on the issue that the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed with the board. As ALDF detailed in its petition, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American Humane Association (AHA), and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) all generally disapprove of gas chambers as a regular method of euthanasia at animal shelters.
This controversial method of destroying animals is already outlawed in numerous states, and most North Carolina counties have voluntarily ceased this practice. In the past three years, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has assisted more than a dozen shelters in abandoning their gas chambers. Kim Alboum, HSUS’s state director, also advised ALDF on local issues in support of the petition.
Gassing has drawn strong criticism from animal health experts because animals are often crammed in small enclosures in which they sense the coming gas, panic together, and take an unnecessarily long time to die. The HSVMA has stated that gassing is “not considered to be humane euthanasia, and should never be permitted in a shelter setting.” According to the 2013 AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, shelters should minimize distress experienced by animals, noting that “euthanasia of companion animals is best conducted in quiet, familiar environments.” ALDF petitioned the board to ban gas chambers for all animals, not just cats and dogs, but has not yet received response to that request. ALDF was assisted by Altera Corporation in filing the petition.
“With this change, the state Board of Agriculture has come in line with the medical science and with humane laws,” says Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “The board must now work to ensure all North Carolina shelters follow this rule.”
Copies of the petition are available upon request.