NC Ends Routine Gassing of Shelter Animals

The gas chamber at Henry Co AC Shelter, 2005

A gas chamber for killing shelter pets, no longer in use.

On December 4, 2014, the Animal Welfare Section of the NC Department of Agriculture issued a policy statement regarding the use of gas chambers to all licensed euthanasia technicians and registered shelters.  The letter can be read in full here.

In summary, the letter states that because the last major animal welfare organization still endorsing the gassing of pets, the AVMA, revised its position in its Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals:  2013 Edition, the state too is revising its position.  The letter states that all shelters should immediately stop the routine gassing of animals and gives a compliance deadline of February 15, 2015.  Exceptions for killing animals in the gas chamber will be allowed, in keeping with AVMA recommendations:

  • “Unusual or rare circumstances”
  • “Natural disaster”
  • “Large-scale disease outbreak”

Licensed euthanasia technicians are requested to contact the Department of Agriculture prior to gassing in order to explain the circumstances and see if the director of Animal Welfare agrees that the case qualifies as an exception.

Any facility which anticipates it won’t be able to stop gassing pets by February 15, 2015 has until January 7 to file a one-time extension request.

Paws Up to the NC Department of Agriculture for taking action to drastically reduce the conditions under which it will be legal for shelters to gas animals to death.  It’s not as good as a ban, but it’s a solid step.

Paws Down for only doing it after the AVMA, the gas chamber’s last champion, finally arrived in the 21st century on the issue and stopped endorsing it for routine pet killing.  No other major animal organization approves of gassing shelter pets.  How many more years until the AVMA crosses the gas chamber off its list permanently?

(Thanks Lisa for sending me this letter.)

Leave a comment

6 Comments

  1. I’m having trouble finding the change in recommendations in the AVMA’s guidelines.

    In any case, yes, this took far too long, but at least they’re getting there.

    Reply
    • Page 45 of the AVMA publication (see “Carbon Monoxide”).

      Reply
      • Thank you. It’s mentally hard to sort through (again). But these guidelines have not changed since the last time I read them. This is the 2013 edition? So…why did it take so long for NC to read through these and see that bit about how it’s “not recommended”? It hasn’t been “recommended” for at least a year. Hm.

        I can’t find it now – does anyone know where that vet who MAKES gas chambers operates out of? Was it NC?

      • Eucritta

         /  December 9, 2014

        Yes. I was unable to find a link to the company, but that’s Carolina Veterinary Consulting:
        http://houser123.tripod.com/dr_ralph_houser/index.album

        As I recall the company did have a catalog on-line, but the only traces I can find of them now are those annoying courtesy listings on BBB or Yahoo.biz and the like.

      • Thanks, Eucritta – thought it was NC. Hope it drives the bastard out of business. He liked to “demonstrate” the device with live animals…

      • It came out in (or around) April AFAIK. I honestly don’t recall if previous versions specifically addressed “routine” gassing. But if it works for the state of NC to modify its stance, good enough. The fact that AVMA still allows for gassing under many circumstances, some vague at best, is condemnable but I guess they can’t go cold turkey on it because change is hard.

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