Crushing Gas Chambers and Closing Out an Ugly Era of Killing

By on February 11, 2016 with 7 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

We are methodically moving forward, facility by facility and state by state, in our quest to ensure that no pet ever faces death inside a carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide gas chamber. On January 26th, the City of Elko, Nevada, decommissioned its carbon monoxide gas chamber – believed to be the last in the state – with a grant from The HSUS. And yesterday, in Utah, a bill to ban gas chamber use for animal euthanasia passed the house committee by a commanding vote of 8 to 1.

This is a particularly welcome development in Utah where seven of the state’s 57 shelters still kill animals using this archaic and ugly method. The bill would phase out gas chamber use for companion animals by July 1, 2017, and for all other animals by July 1, 2018. We are striving for the day when no healthy and treatable animals are euthanized, but until that day comes, we must make sure death is as humane as possible, and injection is a far superior choice than gassing is.

Since The HSUS began its campaign to end the use of gas chambers to euthanize dogs and cats in shelters across the United States in 2013, under the leadership of staff member Inga Fricke, at least 69 chambers have closed – more than two-thirds of the chambers in existence at the time. There are currently only seven states with chambers operational, to the best of our knowledge, down from 16 in 2013.

Efforts are now underway to codify bans on gas chambers in Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and South Carolina. Government leaders in Kansas have proposed regulation changes that would prohibit the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers in the state.  This regulation, while not as declarative as we’d like it to be, would nonetheless force the closure of the two chambers known to be still operational in the state.

In Michigan, there were no chambers in operation at the end of 2015, thanks to the hard work of committed activists, but Branch County in the state threatened to reinstitute chamber use when its shelter, damaged by fire months earlier, reopened. Thankfully, political officials bowed to public outrage and voted on January 12th to permanently ban chamber use in the county.

The Nevada chamber has now been sent to the National Museum of Animals & Society in Los Angeles where it will go on display, a reminder of an era best relegated to history. But it will also, as museum executive director and founder Carolyn Merino Mullin puts it, “serve as a celebration of the steps being taken to make our society more humane for animals each and every day.”

Well said.

Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Pat says:

    What cities in Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and South Carolina are still doing this?

    • Inga Fricke, HSUS says:

      Hello! There are currently no chambers in use that we know of in Michigan or South Carolina (our work now is focused on passing bans that prevent new chambers from opening). There are no chambers we are aware of in Minnesota that are being used for dogs/cats, but we know of at least one using a chamber for wildlife; since we are working to secure voluntary closure of that chamber so we are not currently publicizing their name. Sadly we believe there may be as many as a dozen chambers suspected in use in Missouri, but without 100% confirmation of their use we are not at liberty to publicize their locations. Please visit for updates and current state-by-state information. Inga Fricke, HSUS

      • Holly Smith says:

        I’ve been fighting to end the usage of all Animal Gas chambers for atleast 5+ years. My friends, our supporter and I called every state representative, Congress, Senate Governor, calls and emails to Washington and the talked the gas chamber directors. We have written numerous of hundreds of emails to these whom we had thought would Help put an End to this travesty.

        We’ve reached out to the department of Ag, Animal Welfare, numerous VEYERNATIANS and have spoken to the AVMA in which I to this fine set of Animal Doctors (who took an oath to Help give life substantial treatment, they took the oath where many species of animals would receive their life medical treatment until they’re well) would go with spaying and neutering the animals then there wouldn’t be the need for such a torture chamber to be continued as the incarcerated animals last breath.
        THIS should be against the law! This is a Prime example of Abuse, Neglect, Torture and the Murdering of animals that should have never been born to begin with.
        Why not ban the usage, disconnect and destroy each one? Why should even one be allowed to remain at any facility? Just look at Mimi Cooper’s twin gas chambers in NC? Since when does some gas chambers deserve to be left in any building, it’s an eye sore and less folks have any interest in visit a facility that uses their tax payers monies for the killing innocent animals??!!!

        Yes you’re right Minnesota has one gas chamber still in usage, Utah, Missouri, just some states to work on for that Ban!

        What about Bennestville SC in which just removed Its chamber?
        Houser and A11 in Utah has made a profit off the unbeknownst tax payers money is as it purchases the death chamber, all carbon monoxide tanks, and the payment to keep these death boxes “supposedly keep utd on inspections”. This should be considered as Urgent Awareness to all the citizens so they know the truth.

        We are Not 3rd part of the countries, we’re supposed to be One country the world looks up to. We’re down right disgusting and should All hang our heads Or get our butts and begin the movement Now!

        Stats on open admission facilities, their best live rates, their owner returns, those who went to reputable rescue organizations and those who walked through the front door just go out the backdoor in a plastic bag or a dumpster Are on Public Records which any citizen can obtain, Stats is what Will Open Your eto VB the senseless killing.
        AVMA Needs To Get their brains out of their rear-ends and classify. Gas chambers and the dreaded Heartstick as a thing in the past!

        Not One Animal deserves to be born JUST TO BE KILLED! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Why Not spend the monies on no low cost and neuter programs? Education is vital.
        We can either be a part of the solution instead of being a part of the problem.

        Puppy Mills Must be eliminated! No excuses What So ever!
        Until we animal lovers, volunteers, fosters, adopters and rescuers decide to keep fighting Nothing Will Ever Change. Keep being their Voice. We Can We Will Make as he this Happen!

  2. beate gaidatsch says:

    Animals are People’s best friends, please close the gas chambers, ist’s like the 2. world war-what you’re doing! Everything that have a heart and feelings want to live!

    • May Nace says:

      (Am a animal rights activists and work with in Baltimore, am totally against the murdering of our furbabies in the Yulin China Festival,most with collars,it makes me sick an also the puppy mills,it’s horrible I’ve prayed to the Lord to please put a end to all these killings an the Dolphins should not be in the aquarium, they belong in their own habitat,including every wild animal, born wild born free that’s how they should be,an illegal poaching, all for the love of money not thinking about what you are doing to the animals, horses,gray hound races humans abuse an push these animals till they can’t give no more am happy to hear the good news that you shared with us,thank you May Nace,Baltimore.

  3. Ana Barros says:

    This is absolutely horrific how these inocente creatures are being murdered, needs to stooooop. This earth are theirs also, their life’s matter, stop playing God…this angels deserve to leave just like us… Please stop this horrific act of cruelty..

  4. Tammy Vanhoose says:

    I’m in KY and Greenup County gas chamber was still there after former ky rep reported it was des mantled & removed in 2013 .I seen the rusty old thing up close in Sept 2013 and can tell you there is a bad Ora about it . It wasnt connected to anything and the glass was removed . When i asked why it was still there,I was given the excuse it would not fit through the doorway .that the new addition was basically built around it . i never understood why cutting torches couldn’t take it a part . They claimed it was only used for isolation . It was within 3 ft of the new medical table . Both were in the same room .and only a door between the puppy room.Can you please encourage them a little more dismantle and destroy it once and for all ?
    I suspect KY has several gassing facilities but there is no way to know for sure where they are unless people come forward and report what they see in these pounds,animal controls and “shelters”.

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