Utah: Studying Animal Shelter Gas Chambers
Source: Ramos, Jessica. "Utah: Its Time to Ban, Not Study, Animal Shelter Gas Chambers." Care2. N.p., 04 Mar. 2015. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
Summary: The state of Utah has made the decision to keep the practice of animal gas chambers for at least one more year to further study it; Utah is one of only nine states where animal gas chambers are still legal. Out of the 57 shelters that the Humane Society tracks, 49 Utah animal shelters have already adopted the more humane method of killing: the lethal injection. However, some animal control officers opposed the SB 197 proposal to ban the monoxide gas chambers arguing that the gas chambers are in the interest of human safety. By using the chambers, humans would not have to manhandle the animals and in some extreme cases, the lethal injection puts humans at risk. They argue that gas chambers are actually a compassionate alternative as they are quick, with animals losing consciousness within a minute. However, the Humane Society has disproved that statement by proving that gas chambers induce unnecessary and prolonged stress and terror during the animal's last moments. In the best cases, it has taken up to two minutes for an animal to lose consciousness compared to three to five seconds with standard lethal injection. In addition, some unconscious animals have been mistaken for dead and dumped into freezers, dumpsters, landfills, and incinerators while they were still alive.
Ethical Issue: Utah's decision to reject the proposal to ban the monoxide gas chambers to continue "studying" it is a clear violation of animal rights. They are brutally killing animals in an unhumane manner in order to conduct a meaningless study that already has been proven to be harmful to animals. The animal control officers have taken an anthropocentric approach by using this method of killing as a way to protect human lives over the animals—even though humans are rarely at risk with the use of the lethal injection. Furthermore, these animals have instrumental and intrinsic values: instrumental value because they provided humans with love and companionship, and intrinsic value simply because they exist.
Personal Stance: I strongly believe that Utah is making a huge mistake by allowing the gas chambers to be used for another year. I cannot begin to imagine the terror these animals face and cannot comprehend how the animal keepers continue to maintain this brutal practice. I think the use of monoxide gas chambers should be made illegal in all states and Utah should be forced to adopt the SB 197 proposal.
Question: Do you think Utah should be forced to ban the use of monoxide gas chambers? Why or why not?