Thursday, August 5, 2010

What is Humane?

I would like to take this opportunity to bring to your attention of animal gas chambers. Are they humane or not? What's the best way to properly euthanize a homeless dog or cat? In the State of Alabama, there are a few different methods of euthanasia.  They are according to the State Law and AVMA by lethal injection, sodium pentobarbital or sodium pentobarbital with lidocaine; carbon monoxide gas chamber, which meets AVMA standards; Inhalant anesthetics and Oral Euthanasia Solution. I've read a couple cases with a very good argument.

Let me just say, eventhough I may not currently own any animals (cat or dogs), I do love animals. In fact, I wish all the strays in the world would find a loving home to be adopted to at this very moment. Unfortunately, we all know too well that's not going to happen. The only reason why I don't have a dog or cat is because I have little children and a husband that doesn't want a house dog or cat at this time.

The argument about the methods of euthanasia is which one is more humane. The gas chamber to some doesn't sound like it would be that inhumane because it would basically be like you were sitting a car inside your closed garage with the door down. No ventilation! Smelling the fumes would cause you go unconscious and eventually die from lack of oxygen. Doesn't sound that bad, right? Well, that would be for someone who is deliberately trying to end their life. Put the same case on someone who wants to live and is scared out of their mind. I would guess they would be frightened to death and I don't know about you, but I would fight to get out of there 'til my very last breath. Now, put an innocent, sweet, little dog that doesn't know what's going on in that situation. What then? According to an article I read from National Geographic News online, it normally takes 30 minutes for the animal to be euthanized.  Plus, there's not just one animal inside the chamber by himself.  Oh no, you're talking about more than one animal at a time usually in an airtight container.  So you're not only cramped in a very dark room, but it's crowded.  It's beginning to be hard to breath by this point and the buddy next to you is getting very anxious, which makes you a little crazy and scared.  Then, you begin to hear the hissing sound of gas being pumped inside this very dark, hot container. Of course, you would be crazy not to fight to get out.  Does this sound humane to you?  You be the judge.  National Geographic News has a very interesting article about this subject, Pet Euthanasia .   The story goes that one August day in 2003 at a St. Louis pound, the animal shelter employee couldn't believe her eyes when she opened a gas chamber door to find a reddish brown mutt still alive, standing on top of 6 dead dogs. "In the shelter's 64 year history, no dog has ever survived the chamber's noxious fumes." This little puppy got a second chance of life. He later was rescued by the founder of Stray Rescue of St. Louis. The dog was named Quentin after the prison in San Quentin, CA.
Examples of what gas chambers look like

The lethal injection, which also has it's only controversy.  If injected properly, the animal dies within seconds.  Properly is the issue right now.  The injection has to be administered intravenously into the dog or cat's veins.  Some shelters will not allow this to happen unless an Veterinarian does this procedure.  If the animal had an overdose of sodium pentobarbital injected into the chest cavity or muscle may take it longer to take effect (approx. 20 minutes), which could cause the animal to stress and go into convulsions.  Injecting sodium pentobarbital into an animals chest cavity or muscle just is not acceptable procedure, according to the American Veterinarian Medical Assocations Euthanasia Report Released in 2000. 

Inhalant Anesthetics according to Research Animal Resource has 3 components relief pain, loss of memory and immoblization.  To achieve anesthesia in these areas usually have varying effects.  It sounds very technical and to a science.  In other words, you have to know what you're doing in order to administer this euthanasia to animals.  Now the RAR didn't go into ways this drug could euthanize an animal, but it's information was interesting.  Like, this method could be very costly and you have to be delicate, storing and messing around with these chemicals.  If the chemicals leak out in a room with animals, it could do serious damage. 

Lastly, the Oral administration of Pentobarbitone is only acceptable for neonatal animals or to sedate animals prior to intravenous injection of 20% pentobarbital solution.  This is a slow acting type of euthanaisa, normally takes over 30 minutes to take effect.  This information comes from ICAM-Coalition

Honestly, all of these methods sound pretty awful, but we can't be over run with stray animals, roaming the streets trying to survive.  Bottomline, the states need to get people trained properly to administer these methods properly or re-write the laws.  I know if people have to be trained on these cases, it will cost the taxpayers.  Where else will the money come from?  Which will turn this post from a cause to a political debate, so I'm going to save that for another day.

Right now, my friend is fighting to abolish gas chambers in our beautiful state.  She has been circulating a petition for the past few days.  If you haven't signed it and are against gas chambers as a type of euthanasia, please check it out.  Her group is called BARC.  For more information or to sign the petition, please CLICK HERE!

The adorable pictures of the dogs, cat and burrow were supplied by my friend, Allison.  She is one of many voices for the shelter animals.  She has a photography business that specializes in advertising pets needing homes.  I believe all of the animals featured in this post are up for an adoption, so if you have any questions or need more information, please CLICK HERE!  I checked out our county shelter and oh my goodness.  I'm in love with weiny dogs.  My niece has a long-haired dachshund named Layla.  She is so well mannered and sweet.  I think dachshunds are the perfect size for my children, one day that is if Doug will give in and let us get a house dog in a few more years.   

I would love to thank Allison for bringing this to our attention and Thank you for the everyday effort to stop gas chambers.

Please adopt today, they need you! 

Research Information Resources:
National Geographic News "Pet Euthanasia" dated April 4, 2005
Mobile Animal Welfare and Protection Examiner, "Alabama Shelter Animals Still Killed in Gas Chambers" dated February 19, 2010
American Veterinarian Medical Association, State of Alabama, Euthanasia Laws
ICAM Coalition - Methods of Euthanasia to Dogs and Cats
BARC Petition Online 2010


1 comment:

Allison said...

Hey Mirya! Good blog! Thank you for bringing more attention to the subject and thank you for your support - I appreciate it so much!