Sam Redman's Musings

Random thoughts on a variety of subjects

Humane Cruelty

By Sam Redman

I agree that the crime of putting dogs in the ring to fight other dogs is cruel (and should be against the law), but much of the outrage against Vick has been about his putting unwanted dogs to death using various means. It seems from many of those statements of disgust that putting a dog to death is the most severe of his infractions. Had he done that by some “humane” way would that have lessened the indignation and condemnations?

And who should set the standards for humane methods for dog (and cat) executions? Animal control groups? The Humane Society or the ASPCA? More than 700,000 companion animals were destroyed in animal control facilities and humane societies (yes, humane societies) in Texas alone last year . Millions are executed nationwide.

And what methods of execution do they use? The physical methods used to kill animals in shelters include shooting, electrocution, and decompression. Carbon monoxide gas is employed by some, having them breathe gasoline engine exhaust fumes pumped into a closed chamber. This death by exhaust is not as prevelant as it once was because of outrage from concerned animal lovers, but the other methods are equally cruel. The obvious problem with shooting is the potential for extreme pain if the person handling the gun is not competent, if the animal is struggling, or if the bullet is deflected and the animal survives. Electrocution can be extremely painful and traumatic and doesn’t always work.

Decompression chambers simulate an ascent to thousands of feet above sea level in a matter of minutes. At many shelters which use this method, decompression occurs at speeds up to 15 times faster than the recommended rate. At this speed, the gases in animals’ sinuses, middle ears, and intestines expand quickly, causing considerable discomfort or severe pain. Accidental recompression can occur when equipment malfunctions, when there is a personnel error, or when small animals become trapped in air pockets. They must then be put through the procedure all over again.

Had Mr. Vick used one of the methods employed by the “humane societies” would that have quelled his accusers? There are some inconsistencies in the placement of animal cruelty outrage. Sports figures are comfortable targets. Animal” humane” groups are left alone with their cruel, cruel executions.

This was posted as a NYtimes comment. It can be found at this location:

Click here to read NYTimes posting


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This entry was posted on August 19, 2009 by and tagged .