When we think of animal shelters, we think of places that provide a haven for unwanted animals and a humane death when homes cannot be found for them. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Some states still allow shelters to use gas chambers, and these can hardly be called humane.
There is no way around the cruel reality of these devices. Gas chambers do not guarantee a quick, painless death. Often the animals involved are compromised in some way—very young, old, ill, or injured—that delays the effects of the gas, or due to their size or species, are resistant to hypoxia. In some cases, it can take more than 30 minutes for death to occur. Often there are multiple animals in a chamber, which frightens and distresses them, and sometimes not all the animals die at once. Accidents involving leaking gas and explosions have caused injury and death to shelter personnel. Besides all the humane and safety concerns, gas chambers are also expensive, costing approximately $5.00 per animal, versus $2.30 per animal for the more humane method of euthanasia by injection (EBI).
Pointing out the many flaws associated with the use of carbon monoxide and other gases for euthanizing animals, H. Res. 208, introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), expresses Congress's opposition to their use and supports state laws that allow licensed shelters to acquire the drugs needed for them to provide euthanasia by injection, subject to "appropriate training and certification."