Under the Dome

Animal welfare group seeks ban on shelter gassing in NC

A national animal welfare advocacy organization this week formally asked North Carolina to prohibit the routine use of carbon monoxide to euthanize animals at shelters.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, based in California, is petitioning the N.C. Board of Agriculture and the Office of Administrative Hearings to approve such a rule. The group contends that gassing in shelters is widely opposed, because the practice often crams many animals into small spaces, where they sense danger and panic, and take a long time to die.

Some states have already outlawed the practice, the group says. The American Veterinary Medical Association doesn’t recommend using gas chambers unless a list of specific conditions are met.

“Animals in shelters deserve the most humane treatment we can provide and death by gassing is not it,” says Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “The law reflects this fact and we are asking the Board to ensure all shelters follow this rule.”

The Board of Agriculture, comprised of members appointed by the governor, consider petitions for rules on how to carry out laws that affect animal welfare, in addition to farming and related issues. It is next scheduled to meet in July.