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February 13, 2013

Humane Lobby Day Kicks Off in Jackson

Mississippi animal advocates lobby lawmakers to protect shelter animals

Mississippi citizens concerned about animal welfare  converged on the state capitol for Humane Lobby Day on Wednesday to meet with lawmakers and lobby for better laws for shelter animals. The Humane Society of the United States and The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) sponsor Humane Lobby Day.

Humane Lobby Day participants met with their state legislators to lobby in support of S.B. 2256, sponsored by Sen. David Blount, D 29, which would eliminate the use of gas chambers as a form of euthanasia in animal shelters and rescues. Gas chambers are ineffective and inefficient and cannot be humanely used for the majority of animals, including the old, very young, sick, pregnant, or injured.

“The gas chamber is an outdated form of euthanasia, 20 states already have a ban or restrictions in place, and it’s time for the Magnolia state to eliminate such an antiquated practice,” said Lydia Sattler, Mississippi state director for The HSUS.  “If euthanasia is taking place, it should at least be done humanely and quickly to avoid prolonged suffering of the animals. With the methods available to us now, the gas chamber should not be an option.”

“We are working hard to ensure euthanasia is never needed in our shelters, but when it is, it is critically important that euthanasia be administered with compassion and care,” said Sherry Rout, state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Southern region. “Gas chambers are an archaic and cruel method, so we urge Mississippi to join other states in banning this inhumane practice.”

Gas chambers pose a danger to shelter staff because carbon monoxide is highly toxic and is one of the leading causes of accidental poisoning in the United States. Animal shelter workers have been injured and even killed by malfunctioning gas chambers.

Mississippi ranks 49th in The Humane Society of the United States’ 2012 “Humane State Rankings,” which grades each state based on a wide range of animal protection laws dealing with pets, animal cruelty and fighting, wildlife, animals in research, horses and farm animals. Mississippi has some strong animal protection laws, but there is plenty of room for improvement.

In 2012, The Humane Society of the United States helped pass 74 new laws to help protect animals.

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