Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Gas chambers have no place in our animal shelters

I just signed this petition, the information it provides which stunned and sickened me:

Petitioning Utah State House
Gas chambers have no place in our animal shelters


Petition by Caitlin HallidayKaysville, Utah



Sign Caitlin’s petition


Nobody wants to put a pet to sleep. The process is heartbreaking, even in the best and most loving of circumstances. At least we can take solace in how fast and peaceful euthanasia by injection (EBI) can be. If injected with the proper drugs, an animal will lose consciousness within 3-5 seconds. This is why the vast majority of shelters use EBI. It is by far the most humane way to end an animal’s life.But Utah is one of just seven states that continue to use gas chambers for this purpose, for inexplicable reasons. Unlike with EBI, animals euthanized by gas chamber can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes to die, and they are often still conscious, terrified and distressed. Multiple animals are often placed in these metal boxes at once, and they strike at each other out of fear.

The Humane Society of the U.S. and every other major animal welfare group have condemned the use of these gas chambers, calling them cruel, inhumane, torturous, and archaic. There are fewer than three dozen U.S. shelters still employing them, and Utah has seven of them. Sadly, a bill that would have banned them just failed in the Utah House of Representatives.

We must reach out to our representatives and let them know that we will not stand for inhumane animal euthanasia. Cruel gas chambers have no place in our state’s shelters, and we must demand that they shut them down now.

EBI is as cost-effective, if not more so, than the gas chamber, so the financial argument that some representatives made holds no water. Some pointed to worker safety as a reason to keep using gas chambers — no cases have ever been reported of a shelter worker dying due to an accidental needle stick with EBI; however, there have been human injuries, deaths and explosions due to gas chamber use.

The lawmakers who argued against this bill did not do their homework. There is no reason to continue the use of this horrifying equipment, and we owe it to Utah’s pets to continue to fight on their behalf.

All animals deserve the kindness and dignity of EBI in their last moments of life. Please sign this petition telling the Utah representatives responsible for the failure of this bill that they did not represent the people with their vote.


Sign Caitlin’s petition


Here’s the comment I wrote when signing the petition:

How does this not constitute animal cruelty of the sort that, if anything similar were done by a private party, would be a felony?

How can this practice be justified in a civil society?  It can’t, of course.

So end this.  In all 11 states.  End it.



UPDATE: Just wanted to add this Comments-thread exchange between reader Bronco and me:

 Bronco / September 8, 2016 3:11 pm

You sort of get the idea that people who work in shelters love animals. How could a person that loves animals work at a shelter that does this? The idea that you could work at a shelter and perform mass executions is bizarre. I know its not 100% guaranteed they love animals but you would hope they at least like them.

Along the same lines I suppose not everyone in child care loves kids but they should at least like kids. Another example, plenty of workers in nursing homes that don’t treat the elderly very well . Some of the news in these areas lately is shameful.


Me / September 8, 2016 4:31 pm

My understanding is that these are county-owned-and-controlled animal-control operations (a.k.a. “the pound”), not privately owned (by individuals or nonprofits) actual shelters.

“Shelters” here is clearly a misnomer. I guess these days absolutely everything has a Madison Ave.-type name PR name. Ugh. In this case, though, calling it a shelter is an outright fraud. It leads people to believe that if they take a stray there, the dog or cat will at least not be killed.

This is really, really ugly. Thanks for commenting, Bronco.

Added as update, 9/8 at 4:44 p.m.

Tags: , , , , Comments (6) | |

Please consider signing this petition to shut down this place in Westport, MA

Internet petitions of this sort are helping and saving many, many abused animals.  What I don’t understand about this situation is why it’s been allowed to exist for well more than a decade after it was publicly known about.

The petition is by IAnimal South Coast Pet Rescue and Education, Inc.

Tags: , , , Comments Off on Please consider signing this petition to shut down this place in Westport, MA | |

Frannie [with heartbreaking addendum added]

St. Francis (Frannie) was first reported to our group – Val’s Pals GSD and Large Paw Rescue –  via another rescue named Forgotten Dogs of 5th Ward (in Houston). They are a group who has volunteers go into the 5th Ward area and feed the enormous number of homeless dogs. We were alerted to her on the evening of Wednesday, December 16th. The person who saw her noticed her eating on the carcass of another dead animal.

Abandoned German Shepherd Who Had Given Up on Life Makes an Astonishing Recovery, Melanie, via social media and then Life With Dogs, yesterday

I’m at it again.  Sorry; can’t help it.

Hey, I don’t post here at AB just to trash pols, journalists and judges/justices!  There’s method to my madness.


ADDENDUM: And then there is this, posted this morning on the Washington Post’s website:

The dog, a brown and black Yorkshire terrier mix, only had a purple collar on its neck and could be heard faintly whining when a couple found it last weekend, abandoned and covered in urine and feces inside a crate outside an apartment complex in Alexandria.

They took it to a nearby veterinarian clinic where it ultimately had to be euthanized because it was in such poor health.

The incident happened Sunday, and authorities in Alexandria are offering a $1,000 reward for information in the case that leads to a prosecution of the person or people involved.

Abandoned dog found covered in urine and feces in crate in Alexandria, Dana Hedgpeth

Added 8/19 at 12:40 p.m.

Tags: , , , , , , , Comments (2) | |

Operation Save Marley

I just signed this petition, and included this comment:

What is the point of having this dog euthanized?  Why is this system so mechanical that it can’t or won’t distinguish between a dog who’s a threat and a dog who unsurprisingly under the circumstances thought someone was being harmed and tried to protect him?  Seriously; what is the point of a system of that sort?

Anyone else care to add a protest to this kind of thing by signing the petition?

Please Help Marley

UPDATE: Sorry, but this is touching.  This overreaction is outrageous.  Added 7/21 at 6:51 p.m.

Tags: , , , Comments (9) | |


I was about to write a post about a Supreme Court opinion issued today, but made the mistake of checking my emails first–and saw this:


Message body

Hi Beverly, you have a chance to see this message from Tuesday?

The cruelty is difficult to fathom — thousands of dogs and countless cats crammed into tiny cages without food or water until they’re beaten, slaughtered and eaten as part of an annual “festival” in Yulin.

Many of these animals are stolen pets still wearing their collars. Imagining my pets in this situation makes me sick.

Animal lovers like you and our Humane Society International operatives in China are the only hope for poor creatures like these. Beverly, please donate to help end the Yulin dog meat festival and other cruelties to animals.

– Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO

——- Forwarded message ——- 
From: Humane Society of the United States
Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2016 1:11 PM
To: Wayne Pacelle
Subject: These dogs take their final journey today

The living nightmare comes to a cruel end today for dogs at the Yulin dog meat festival.
Help fight animal cruelty like this.

View this message on our website.


I tried but was unable to also capture the photos that are part of the email message, but the pictures are on the website here.

Why not just boycott products we know are made in China?  I just a few days ago replaced my phone, an LG, with a Samsung.  Both companies are Korean–I’m especially glad that Samsung is–and I assume their products are made entirely there.  A large boycott of tech products made in China–Apple, for example–could make this f***ing Yulin festival the last.

Now I’ll draft that post about today’s big-news Supreme Court opinion, although I’m no longer much in the mood.

Really … I can’t stand this.

Tags: , , , , , , , Comments (12) | |

Disgusting. Is Whole Foods a victim of fraud, or is it in on the fraud? Who knows?

In a report titled “A Deadly Feast: What you are not told about your Thanksgiving turkey,” an advocacy group called Direct Action Everywhere, known as “DxE,” alleged that Diestel Turkey Ranch operated one “picture perfect” farm with about 400 animals in Sonora, Calif. This farm, the group said, was certified “5+” in an animal-welfare system adopted by Whole Foods. (“Step 1″ is the lowest rating for suppliers who want to be certified: “no cages, no crates, no crowding.” “Step 5+” is the highest: “animal centered, entire life on same farm” with extensive outdoor access.)

However, DxE claimed, “no turkeys raised at the 5+ Sonora farm are actually sold at Whole Foods or anywhere else.” …

“Diestel Turkey Ranch, which has received Whole Foods’ highest rating for animal welfare, operates a showcase farm in Sonora, CA that is heavily promoted in the company’s marketing and described as ‘humane,’” DxE’s report read. “However, the showcase farm does not, in fact, raise any animals for sale — it’s nothing more than a prop.”

Whole Foods Thanksgiving turkeys endure ‘horrific conditions’ at Calif. farm, activists say, Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, today

My Thanksgiving dinner this year will be the same as last year’s: A mostly-open-air vegan/vegetarian potluck whose main course (the one I’ll choose; there will be others offered) will be a vegan meatloaf-looking dish with mushroom gravy, one of the most delicious dishes I’ve ever had.

Like the Pilgrims!  Minus the turkey.  (I’m not the cook, and I don’t have the recipe; sorry.)

But while I have been known to try to persuade friends to buy free-range turkeys for the holiday—Trader Joe’s has them and they’re not that expensive—I know that most people, including most people I know, will be having factory-farm turkeys at their dinner.  Knowingly.

But here’s a situation in which people who care about animal cruelty in agriculture, and can afford to and are willing to pay an apparently hefty premium for their holiday poultry, are being defrauded not just of money but also of their sense of ethics.

The title of this post poses a rhetorical question, not one that I expect an AB reader to answer, but Whole Foods’ reaction to the report suggests that the answer to the question is not what I (and, I’m sure, their customers) would hope.  According to the WP article, “Whole Foods as well as Diestel Turkey Ranch took issue with the accusations, saying that the activists’ mission was not farm animal welfare, but the elimination of farm animal meat consumption.”  Non sequiturs work only if your target audience is comprised of political consultants.

I know that most people who will be buying a Thanksgiving turkey already have bought theirs.  But I think it’s important to disseminate this information even at this late date.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Tags: , , , , , , , Comments (27) | |

I signed this CARE2 petition

The petition is here.  Including a comment is optional. I opted to write one:

Matt the dog warden threatened her and her neighbor with arrest if they took the dog to the vet? And the violation of law charged would have been what, exactly?

So there are three issues here: First, the dog’s owner did break animal-cruelty laws, but apparently wasn’t charged.  Second, two public officials–the dog warden and the sheriff--from the outset and for the following several days ostentatiously violated their own legal duty.  Third, one of the two (the dog warden) threatened what would have been a false arrest (an abuse of public office) in order to keep good samaritans from doing what they had a legal right to do, and prevented this dog from getting help, and the other one (the sheriff) effectively assisted him in that.  And a third public official, the town supervisor, gave no indication that he cared.

Plymouth, NY, hah?  I’ll be sure to avoid stopping by.


Tags: , , , , , , , Comments (6) | |