In this article –
- I look at a municipally funded animal ‘shelter’ located in my region who choose to use a Gas chamber and have done so for years – the shelter is the ‘ASPCA Outaouais’, located in Gatineau Quebec
- I also look at the issues around the use of the Gas Chamber
- It is well-past time that Canada does the right and honorable thing – Ban Gas Chambers in Canada!
Did You Know –
- In Canada it is Still Legal to Use a Gas Chamber to ‘Euthanize’ (KILL) Shelter Dogs and Cats
- In Canada There are Many Municipal, Tax Payer Funded ‘Shelters’ That Chose To Continue Using Gas Chambers to Kill Shelter Dogs and Cats
- Gas Chamber use in Canada is a well-kept secret and a shameful one
- Its well past time the Canadian Public new more about this cruel, unnecessary practice
The SPCA Outaouais and the Use of Gas Chambers in Canada –
- Would help to bring the issue to the attention of the community at large;
- Like other communities where gas chambers are used – the majority of the residents of this area have no idea that gas chambers to kill animals exist, let alone that there is one in this area being used on a regular basis;
- The problem of gas chamber use is not just a problem for the shelters like the SPCA Outaouais that use a Gas Chamber – it is, in my opinion a problem that involves the entire community and, therefore the entire community must be part of the solution;
- It is a problem that must be brought to light;
- It is a problem that must be dealt with;
- It is a problem in which people must engage themselves;
- However engagement in the issue and its resolution must be a partnership between members of the community and the shelter = for in the lack of co-operation between those involved the issue may only become more exacerbated rather than solved…
I do not think it possible for the Outaouis SPCA to shut-down their gas chamber today, tomorrow, next week…
- I am a very committed animal advocate but I do believe that making a difference in this world often requires patience, compassion and understanding of all that may be involved to action real and permanent change;
- I believe that it is very important to lead by example of what it is that one desires to achieve…
- I believe that in order to move the agenda forward to cessation of the gas chamber located at the SPCA Outaouais requires compassion for all involved and working within the system currently in-place in order to effect change.
- I hope the future, the members of that protest group will come to the conclusion that in order to effect change in a way that will best protect the well being and best interests of cats and dogs in the community now and in the future – that they (the protest group) will seek to work with the Outaouais SPCA rather than in conflict with them – which is unfortunately what I see currently developing;
- For the reason I have left the protest group – but this article is my plea to the community at large to:
- Step-up and assist the Outaouais SPCA in developing a viable plan to shut down the gas chamber;
- To strengthen the laws in Quebec and in Canada to better protect our companion animals, and;
- To make illegal the use of gas chambers in Canada…
#2 – Puppy Mills should be banned outright, outlawed and made illegal.#3 – Animal Welfare laws in Quebec and in the balance of Canada must be strengthened.
#4 – Gas Chambers should be made illegal in all of Canada.
While the use of gas chambers is still legal in Quebecmost shelter facilities do not use such methods to euthanize the animals in their care. Responsibility to Speak Out Against The Use of Gas Chambers Belongs to Everyone, Including…
- The shelters who are currently using gas chambers – for if they do not inform the public the community cannot help partner with the shelter to create an environment where the gas chamber can be shut-down;
- Upon being informed of the gas chamber the individuals that make up the immediate community should get involved in a plan to support the shelter in ending the use of the gas chamber;
- The support of local, private veterinary clinics;
- Professional and regulatory bodies such as the various Veterinary Associations should step-up to the plate and unequivocally reject the use of gas chambers as a method to euthanize animals;
- Municipal, provincial and the federal government should make it illegal to sue gas chambers to kill animals in Gas Chambers…
- All of the above make up the ‘Community’ that must participate to effect change in how our companion animals are cared for in the shelter setting.
When we do not speak out – we are all implicated in the brutality that occurs as an end result of our silence.
The SPCA Outaouais is a perfect example of a shelter that desperately needs the support of the ‘Community’.To fund the facility and its operations (including maintenance of the gas chamber and supply of gas for its deathly use) the SPCA Outaouais relies heavily on donations from the community. Yet the community for the most part is unaware that the SPAC runs a gas chamber. The volume of animal intake at the shelter is very high and the number of animals adopted out has great room for improvement, subsequently the rate of euthanasia is high. Annual intake sits between 9200 to 8500 animals per year of which about one third are euthanized.
|Martin Luther King Jr.|
- For some it may take 10 or 15 minutes;
- For others the time of suffering can last a long time – 30 minutes, and hour;
- Some animals do not die during the first gassing and must endure a second round of gassing.
- In Alabama, on October 3rd 2011 Daniel the beagle made headlines in the dog advocacy world. Daniel was ‘put’ into a gas chamber along with 17 other shelter dogs, all the other dogs died except for Daniel.
- Daniel’s case is pretty unique – because he was not tossed back into the chamber for a second round of gassing.
- You can read more about Daniel here on Daniel the Dog’s Blog Site.
- There are very few happy stories when it comes to animals and gas chambers.
- You can read eye-witness accounts here.
Some shelters put multiple animals into the chamber to be gassed together. The stress and panic causes them to fight. The fights result in physical injury – one more brutality in the face of all that they (the dogs and cats ‘put’ into the gas chamber) must suffer from the gassing The struggle to breath as they are slowly suffocated by the carbon monoxide;
- The pain of organs slowly shutting down;
- Disorientation as their brain struggles to function as it is slowly starved of oxygen;
- And the panic of the other dogs or cats in the chamber – distress feeds distress just as it does in humans.
In my opinion, it is a truly horrible way to die.
Many shelters – when gassing just one dog at a time ‘tether’ the dog in the gas chamber so that the dog will not thrash about too much and leave a bloody mess. After all the real reason behind gassing animals (rather than using EBI) is convenience…so you can be sure that last thing the shelter staff wants to be is inconvenienced by having to clean up a bloody mess.
Many shelters stop feeding the dog two days prior to gassing. This is not done for the dogs well being, it is instead done to stop the dog from vomiting once it is in the gas chamber and the gas is turned on. Not for the sake of the dog’s well being but instead so that there is less of a mess for the shelter worker to clean-up afterwards.
Many shelters take the dog or cat right from the gas chamber to the incinerator or freezer without checking for vital signs, or without checking accurately for vital signs – the end result, the animal that has already suffered in the gas chamber is then burned alive, or frozen while still alive, or stuffed into a plastic bag while still alive.
Some of my clients have adopted a dog(s) from the SPCA Outaouais – it is important to keep in mind that just because a shelter uses a gas chamber does not mean that they do not contribute good to the community, but it does mean that there is room for improvement within that shelter and most certainly within the community that the shelter resides in.
“The HSUS considers use of the gas chamber in a shelter setting to be unacceptable under any circumstances. “Euthanasia of dogs and cats in shelters is a tragedy that must come to an end through spaying and neutering of pets, increased adoption of pets from shelters and other approaches, but when an animal must be euthanized, it’s critical that it be done in the most compassionate way possible. Direct injection of approved euthanasia drugs, by which the animal quickly loses consciousness without experiencing pain or distress, is the most humane method currently available,” said Inga Fricke, director of sheltering and pet care issues for The HSUS. “Lesser alternatives like carbon monoxide gas chambers should never be used in shelter settings.”
- Gas chambers cannot provide humane euthanasia for shelter populations:
- The animals euthanized in shelters are often old, young, ill or injured; none of these animals can be humanely euthanized in a gas chamber.
- Even healthy adult dogs and cats will suffer stress just by being placed in a gas chamber, making their death inhumane.
- Gas chambers pose grave dangers to staff:
- Gas chambers pose great physical and psychological harm to staff.
- Staff must handle, transport and place animals into the chamber, putting them at risk of bites and scratches.
- Animal care workers have also been injured and killed by carbon monoxide, a colorless, odourless and tasteless toxic gas.
- Euthanasia by injection is less expensive:
- Studies have proven that it is more expensive to operate a gas chamber than it is to purchase and use euthanasia drugs. “
I met with Francine Dubois (the shelter Director) as well as one of her staff and some of the volunteers…
I believe that Francine and her staff do care very much for the animals in their care but due to a confluence of circumstances they currently find themselves in a place and time where the use of the gas chamber is the norm in the shelter as is EBI (euthanasia by injection).
With additional and much needed support from the ‘Community’ the SPCA Outaouais could conceivably cease the use of the gas chamber. Without the support of the ‘Community’ this goal may still be possible but the time to implement would be much expanded, leaving many dog and cats to die via the gas chamber in the interim.
One of the participants in the protest discussion brought this very excellent example to light…
Sampson County Shelter’s Journey to Change…
Sampson County in North Caroline made the choice to dismantle their gas chamber May15th, 2013. This shelter is much poorer than the SPCA Outaouais, yet Sampson County had the integrity, ethics and morals to move forward with shutting down their Gas Chamber. You can read the story here. In addition it is important to note that although Sampson County is a small and poorly funded shelter they work very hard to keep their rate of adoptions high and euthanasia low – currently their rate of euthanasia sits at 30%, with the rate of adoptions steadily on the rise. A small shelter moving in the right direction, having left excuses for making the wrong choice far behind – it is a great story; you can read about it here.
Is it Possible for the SPCA Outaouais to do the Same as the Sampson County Shelter?
Yes – but they need the community to support the effort…
Outaouais stated in their interview with the protest organizers that they (the SPCA Outaouais) are currently operating on an annual budget of $2.6 million. The Sampson County shelter’s budget was and is considerably less than that of the SPCA Outaouais, but in order to shut the Gas Chamber down the County did get grants from the government. The SPCA Outaouais may not be able to access the volume of grants that Sampson County received. Should that indeed be the case, the support of the local community increases in importance.
- At least one more full time veterinarian would need to be hired and retained;
- Retention can be a problem if the salary offered is not somewhat equitable to that paid by a private veterinary office;
- If the number of adoptions is not raised than it can be difficult to find a veterinarian who is willing to spend the majority of their time euthanizing animals as opposed to helping animals (i.e. doing spay/neuter, treating illness etc.);
- The community needs to step-up and help increase the number of permanent adoptions and decrease the number of animals being abandoned and dropped-off at the shelter…if you get a pet, commit to keeping it!
- The local veterinarian community should play a role in helping support the SPCA in increasing the adoption rates at the SPCA;
- Spay and neuter you pet, and;
- Speak out about back-yard breeders and puppy mills, and do not purchase dogs or cats from them;
- Adopt from the shelter instead;
- And donate to the shelter;
- In addition, the province of Quebec must change the law which dictates that only a certified Veterinarian may perform an EBI;
- The law should be expanded to allow certified veterinary technicians to perform EBI’s.
In my opinion, In return the SPCA should…
- Speak openly to the community about the use of the Gas Chamber and the SPCA’s desire to abolish the use of the gas chamber complete with a:
- Plan to shut down the gas chamber that incorporates tasks, budget, deliverables and timelines outlined;
- Clear statment of what the SPCA would need from the community to assist in accomplishing the plan;
- Provision of a breakdown within that plan that provides clear information/direction regarding:
- What and how much monetary and other support the SPCA would requrie from individuals in the community;
- What type of support the SPCA would require from the community to push change at a municipal and provincial level;
- Host petitions for those in the community, and groups to sign to trigger required changes in the laws that regulate the rights, care and ownership of animals, and;
- Otherwise support the SPCA in pushing for the change plan/initiative.
- Because not enough people speak out to stop the use of gas chambers;
- Becase it is not just enough to speak out;
- You must follow-through, help and collaborate in the process of attaining a culture where gas chamber use is:
- not required, and;
- not acceptable.
If you are not part of the solution YOU are part of the problem.
Canada – Stop the Silence…
- Speak out, speak to and work with shelter authorities having jurisdiction…
- Tell your municipal, provincial and federal representatives that the use of gas chambers to kill shelter animals IS NOT acceptable;
- Sign petitions;
- Promote spay, neuter;
- Don’t buy puppies from backyard breeders and puppy mills;
- If you bring an animal into your life make that relationship a life-long commitment,and;
- If something gets in the way of that commitment find a good home for your pet – don’t just drop it off at a shelter and make your pet someone else’s responsibility.
And in my opinion – shame on the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Canadian Medical Veterinary Association (CMVA), for not taking action to outright condemn the use of Gas Chambers on companion (i.e. dogs and cats) and other animals (domestic and non-domestic).
Until the AVMA takes a committed ban on the use of gas chambers it is highly unlikely that the CMVA will take action to condemn the use of gas chambers.
|This is my Pack of ten dogs, eight of whom are rescues…they are lucky, so many wonderful dogs are not so lucky – so please SPEAK OUT for those who cannot!|