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April 26, 2013

Putting An End to Shelter Gas Chambers

 

A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated the closing of the last Mississippi carbon monoxide gas chamber, thanks in large part to the determined efforts of HSUS state director Lydia Sattler. This week we are excited to pass along other success stories – this time the closing of the gas euthanasia chamber at the City of Emporia Animal Shelter in Kansas, and the unanimous passage of a bill in the Texas House today to ban gas chambers in the state. 

Gas chamber being hauled away
Midge Grinstead/The HSUS
After a decade-long battle, the gas chamber at the City
of Emporia Animal Shelter in Kansas is hauled away.

Our Kansas state director, Midge Grinstead, joined with local advocates and they together helped put an end to the use of this archaic practice of gassing companion animals. Midge wept at this image of the chamber finally being removed from the shelter.

Just weeks ago, the Texas Senate took an emphatic step to end gas chambers everywhere in the state (several Texas cities have already banned their use), and today the House affirmed that outcome with a 135–0 vote on the issue. We expect that Governor Rick Perry, who has amassed a strong record of animal protection as the state’s chief executive, will sign the bill in rapid fashion. Amazingly enough, just ten years ago it was still technically legal under Texas law for shelters to kill animals by such methods as drowning, shooting, clubbing or strangling. The very fact that we are so close to an outright ban of gas chambers in Texas is a testament to how far we’ve come.

In the meantime, we continue to encourage, cajole, and pressure individual shelters to remove their chambers once and for all. And next week, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., (co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus) will reintroduce a federal resolution condemning the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers for euthanasia of shelter animals. While we also work to end any killing of healthy, adoptable animals, we must nevertheless ensure that when euthanasia does have to be performed, it is done as humanely as possible. Gas chambers, like the one pictured here, must permanently become a thing of the past.

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