The Humane Society of the United States commends Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb for signing a bill banning the use of gas chambers in animal shelters across the state. If a shelter animal must be euthanized, House Enrolled Act 1615 mandates that the shelter only utilize humane methods, namely those that cause painless loss of consciousness and death. The Humane Society of the United States worked with Indiana lawmakers to draft this legislation.

“We are grateful that the state of Indiana has recognized that in the unfortunate event that a shelter animal must be euthanized, he or she deserves the most humane handling and care possible,” said Inga Fricke, director of sheltering initiatives and outreach for the Humane Society of the United States. “It is truly a testament to the state’s commitment to the highest standards of humane care for its animals.” 

Indiana is the 28th state to place a full or partial ban on the use of gas chambers. Four states, Ohio, Wyoming, Missouri and Utah, are known to still actively use gas chambers in animal shelters.   

Under the best circumstances, it takes minutes before an animal loses consciousness inside a gas chamber. But if the chamber is old or not well-calibrated—a frequent issue for under-resourced shelters—or if the animal is very young, very old, injured or stress, it can take much longer. The HSUS shares the goal of ending euthanasia, but when it is the only option, it is vital that the procedure be performed with the same skill and compassion we would expect to see if we brought our own suffering animal to our veterinarian. k

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