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Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Difficult Subject

A botched execution by lethal injection of a condemned convict has been in the news lately.  I'm not going to discuss that.  But my thoughts turned to the chemicals used to humanely euthanize our pets.  I thought they were the same chemicals. 

Most internet searches suggest that they are (some listed other chemicals that are used).  It is difficult to tell how up-to-date these articles are because sites discussing the subject seldom have publication dates.  The news reports about the botched lethal injection stated that the chemicals previously used are no longer produced (one article I read, and lost track of, carefully said "for US prison executions").  If they are not available for executing convicts, then are they available for our pets? 

I am worried that the routinely most humane pet euthanasia protocol has been eliminated by the concerns over the ethics of human lethal injection execution.  I worry about the future of humane pet euthanasia...

I have personal experience.  My cat, Skeeter, was euthanized in 2008 in the extremity of kidney failure.  I was there.  He was sedated and then administered a dose of sodium thiopental while I held his head and looked into his eyes.  The vet was listening to his heart.  5 seconds later, he said "he's gone", but listened another 30 seconds to be absolutely sure.  Not a twitch or eye movement.  I was so grateful for the ease of his passing.

So what happens now for our dear pet friends if there is no sodium thiopental?  Or is it still produced for veterinary use?  I can't find the answer on the internet.  And I want to know.

I'm not worried about my cats right now.  The oldest is only 6.  I'm sure the future will bring forth better chemicals for the sad need of pet euthanasia.  But some cats are older and I know that many are euthanized every day. 

What of them, now? 

It disturbs me to raise this question.  But the need for an answer is strong.  If the best chemicals for humane euthanasia are no longer available, what IS being used now?  And if not the BEST chemicals to free our dear furrends from difficult painful lingering ends, WHY NOT?


2 comments:

Katnip Lounge said...

I watched an interesting program on assisted suicide, and the method of choice is so simple: helium gas. Painless, and apparently it "breathes" just like air so there is no sensation of suffocation. It's over in less than a minute. You can get a tank at any party store. I don't know why it's not used more widely.

Megan said...

The story of the botched lethal injection made our newspapers here, Mark. I appreciate the seriousness of your concern for our pets, but, you see, we over here in the 'civilised world' remain gobsmacked that in the USA, people are put to death by the state in a formal, rule-driven manner. Very odd.

Megan
Sydney, Australia