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N.C. Debates Humane Way to Euthanize Animals

Posted July 18, 2007

— Animal rights advocates argued Wednesday that North Carolina's continued use of gas chambers to euthanize animals is barbaric.

At a public hearing Wednesday, advocates urged the state to adopt what they call more humane methods.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is considering new regulations on the use of carbon-monoxide gas chambers.

The regulations would give North Carolina its first set of uniform standards for euthanizing animals, said Dr. Lee Hunter, director of the department's animal-welfare section.

Hunter advocated adopting the rules "to make sure that the workers that have to do it are trained, to make sure the animals are euthanized by a method that is recognized as humane."

Some animal-rights advocates argued that the regulations don't go far enough and should ban gas chambers entirely.

Opponents of the measure carried a colorful chain with a link for every animal euthanized each year in North Carolina.

Animals suffer while being killed in gas chambers, said Jennifer McCollum, a volunteer with the Triad Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"They urinate, they defecate, they vomit, they convulse. They fight each other in their panic. It's not humane," McCollum said.

Although lethal injection is becoming more widely used across the state, the Wake County Animal Shelter is among 30 shelters that also use gas chambers.

Michael Williams, director of the Wake shelter, said that its gas chamber is used rarely and is used humanely.

"The animals are separated. They're sedated before they go into the chamber. ...  We're using a cool, compressed gas," Williams said.

The agriculture department is expected make its decision on the regulations in September.

Fifteen states, including North Carolina, have laws that allow gas chambers.

Around 85 percent of animals taken to shelters in North Carolina are euthanized, amounting to 250,000 animals annually.

Nationally, around half of animals in shelters are put down and half adopted.


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  • One Good Dad Jul 20, 2007

    For the record Elcid...I am not a farmer. I live on one with lots of farm animals. These ARE our pets. You probably would be shocked to know what I do for a living. It's people like yourself who do not give back to the world "life that is" that makes this world a hard place to live in. Ponder on that....

  • RYANROCCO Jul 20, 2007


  • christlhouse Jul 20, 2007

    Humans allow animals to reproduce. We are talking about domesticated animals who depend on humans for everything. Humans are responsible for the pet over-population, and therefore have an obligation to euthanize them painlessly.
    They did not ask to be born.

    Mandatory spay and neuter, and high fees for a breeding licence would solve the problem....but the government has not caught on yet. We can't even get our county shelters to spay or neuter animals before they leave the shelter!! Ridiculous ! The problem will continue to grow until this is changed. There are people that go into our pound LOOKING for animals to breed!!! And they can get one for a $5.00 adoption fee, and a rabies vaccine.
    I hope and pray for a day when people have to wait on a list for years, for the privilege of owning a pet.

  • doodad Jul 20, 2007

    elcid, as I posted earlier, I have cows and I love and treat my livestock better than some people treat their children so don't ASSUME anything here.

    Whether or not animals have souls doesn't give us the right or "free pass" to treat them with cruelty, even livestock created solely for the purpose of human consumption. As far as the bible goes, I can't imagine spending eternity without animals so I do hope that there are some there when I get there.

  • elcid89 Jul 19, 2007

    A few points OGD: The bible was written by men. It's therefore not surprising that it would attribute the concept of a soul only to mankind. If one believes, as you apparently do, that God created all creatures, why would he create the wide diversity of life extant and give none of it a soul except us? Claiming the territory of soulhood for yourself and saying nothing else can possibly have one is self serving. I'm not surprised though, as you also state that you are a farmer. It would therefore follow that you see animals as merchandise. I suspect it'd be a lot harder to slaughter them by the hundreds if you had to worry about whether they had souls.

    On the abortion note: if you are that worried about child welfare that you'd be willing to take children in to save them, there are literally hundreds of them already born and slowly dying in the foster system. Why not give some of them a home instead of worrying about potential people. They're real.

  • fredssmithisnotmysenator Jul 19, 2007

    onegooddad-maybe you should change your name to onemeanman. Step down and take a breath...a slow breath!

  • fredssmithisnotmysenator Jul 19, 2007

    amvaugha- duh! thanks for the clarification. i guess you think you are the only one to have read the bible?

  • One Good Dad Jul 19, 2007

    To fredssmithsnotmysenator: Just For your info, I live on a farm and have more animals on my farm than you have had your entire life.....even if you are 100 years old. I would take in every single baby that I could to keep it from being aborted. Obviously freds...you have no consious and have never been in church. You are very funny to think that animals have souls. Very pitiful Freds.....so sorry for you.

  • Care4Animals Jul 19, 2007

    Interesting articles about North Carolina animal shelters at this link!


  • Care4Animals Jul 19, 2007

    For more information about gas chambers or to get involved, please visit http://DavieVideo.com and http://NCCHE.com.