Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gassing Cats Petition Misguided

Gassing Can Be Far More Humane

There is a local petition and lobby afoot to ban the use of gas as a means of killing feral cats in the city.

The animal lovers think that lethal injection is far more humane and less stressful for the animal.

What they seem to be missing is the fact that these are not cute, little purring kitties but rather they are biting, scratching, squirming, hissing little hell-cats bent on being somewhere else. If your flesh happens to be in the way of their teeth or claws, they could care less.

To suggest that holding this fighting fur ball while shaving their leg, finding a vein and then injecting them with poison is any less stressful than putting them in an enclosure where they inhale a gas which does in fact put them to sleep, is an unfounded argument.

Gassing as a means of killing unwanted animals is accepted by both the Canadian and the American Veterinary Medical Associations.

As usual these petitions gain steam when people have their emotions tweaked by those who are misinformed about this nasty little subject. These same people should be required to actually witness both forms of killing before they go off on an emotionally charged tangent that is ill-founded.

Another Consideration:

Recently the SPCA in Sydney NS were told they could no longer use gas to kill unwanted cats, but instead have until Oct. to begin using lethal injections.

The staff of eight who are charged with killing about 1,000 cats per year are not pleased with the decision.

Their reason? Now they will have to hold the animals while they die, and they find that a very stressful situation for themselves. They also used to provide euthanasia services for local residents, but with this new rule, they will no longer provide the service to pet owners, who instead will have to take their pets to a vet to have them killed.

I also engaged those opposed to the use of gas to put animals to sleep and asked how they handle the feral cat who is not interested in being handled at all while you shave their leg, find a vein and inject poison into them. They said you simply sedate the animal first.

If that is their argument, then why not sedate the cats before putting them into the gas chamber? Their argument seems to fall apart.

Properly done, the use of gas (which is not some lung searing mustard type gas) but is either carbon monoxide (odorless and tasteless) or carbon dioxide, simply causes the animal to go unconscious, the same as carbon monoxide would put us to sleep.

Killing an animal is not a pleasant task, but the emotional furor being raised by the pro-injection crowd borders on hysteria. If an animal is placed in a chamber, which has been pre-charged with gas they will in fact 'go to sleep'. They can also be forcefully held while their leg is shaved and a needle is put into their vein, presuming they hit the vein the first time, if not, they have to try again. Then the animal is injected with a poison which stops their heart.

Neither choice is preferable to the animal living out a happy life, but if death is the only option, putting an animal to sleep with gas, is not the horror story some would have you think it is.



  1. Well.. we won in Nanaimo didn't we!
    The gas box is history.. and we will make sure it is removed from the pound ASAP.

    Too bad Dan Hughes had to breach his contract that he signed with the city, where he agreed he would use injection!

    If you can sedate a cat for gas, you can easily administer the second-final injection and that means no gas.

    Why is it all across North America, pounds and shelters are switching to injection? You think there might be a reason for this?

    The staff at Nanaimo only had to euthanize 66 cats in the last year. Now... a qualified veterinarian will be doing it. So Hughes and staff fear not. The only thing thats going to hurt is that he will now have to pay more for it.. like he was supposed to have been doing ALL ALONG!

    Vicki Boutilier

  2. So, was this whole move just so the vets could make more money??
    I would like all those in favour of the injection, to actually go and witness how quietly feral cats go into the night.
    If the gas was being used PROPERLY there would be no need for all this outcry and emotional button pushing.


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