The N.C. Board of Agriculture held a public hearing in Raleigh on July 18 regarding proposed changes to rules governing animal shelters. Four of us from Asheville made the trip to join approximately 200 people at the hearing, most of whom expressed their opposition to the inclusion of gas chambers as an acceptable form of euthanasia. The board also heard from about 500 people via e-mail and letters during the comment period. Because of the volume of comments received, the Department of Agriculture has come out with new proposed rules. The efforts of those who attended the hearing and those who wrote to the Board of Agriculture clearly didn’t go unnoticed. It is now proposed that the gas chamber be phased out as of Jan. 1, 2012.
Comments are currently being taken on the proposed regulations. Gassing causes stress and anxiety for the animals, and gas exposure can cause long-term health problems for the operators. The gas chamber is unreliable: Animals sometimes survive and have to be gassed again. Since gas doesn’t meet already-existing standards for a large percentage of the animals in shelters (very young, pregnant, sick, injured, geriatric), it would make sense to require the most humane method available for all animals: lethal injection of sodium pentobarbital. This is the procedure used by veterinarians in their offices, and is approved by every national humane organization. Thirteen states have already banned the gas chamber. Please urge the Board of Agriculture [to outlaw] gas chambers now, not as of Jan. 1, 2012. The deadline for comments is Dec. 31 (David S. McLeod, 1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1001, phone 919-733-7125 ext. 238, fax 919-716-0090, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). For more information, go to www.ncche.com.
— Terri David