SB 403 - Michigan Humane Society

SB 403

Help put an official stop to gas chamber euthanasia in Michigan!

May 31, 2016

If passed, SB 403 would officially end the inhumane practice of using gas chambers for euthanasia.

While the gas chambers that were in use in Michigan have, in recent months reportedly been taken off-line, there is still a need for statewide legislation requiring that humane euthanasia be performed only by injection.  Such a statute would reflect the strong public sentiment against the use of gas chambers to euthanize shelter animals, as it was a response to public pressure that caused the remaining gas chambers to be taken out of service over the last several months.  Also, a state statute requiring euthanasia by injection (EBI) ensures that the use of gas chambers for euthanasia will never be reinstituted.

EBI is the best  practice as it poses significantly less risk to shelter workers’ physical and mental health than gas chamber euthanasia.  EBI is considered the most humane method of euthanasia for an animal.

Gas chambers are dangerous and pose serious physical and mental health risks to the shelter workers who are required to use them to euthanize animals.  Physical injury can be caused by the toxic gas used to euthanize animals, which is also harmful and potentially fatal to humans.  Gas chambers have also been known to explode, injuring nearby workers.  In addition to the potential for physical harm, shelter workers experience increased levels of emotional stress and compassion fatigue when performing gas chamber euthanasia.

If an animal must be euthanized, the most humane method available should be used.  According to the American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines on euthanasia, “Intravenous injection of a barbituric acid derivative is the preferred method for euthanasia of dogs, cats, other small animals, and horses.”

EBI is a faster and less painful form of euthanasia than gas chamber euthanasia.  EBI is also a more reliable form of euthanasia, as some animals have been known to survive attempts at gas chamber euthanasia.  EBI is used by veterinary clinics and animal protection shelters.  The euthanasia training provided in Michigan and approved by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development focuses exclusively on EBI.

SB 403, if passed, would guarantee that Michigan animal control shelters would utilize EBI, the most humane method to perform euthanasia.

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on SB 403 on May 24.  The Michigan Humane Society provided testimony in support of SB 403.  The Committee voted 5-0 in favor of the bill, and it has been referred to the entire Senate for consideration.

MHS is grateful to Sen. Marty Knollenberg for introducing SB 403. Now it's up to you to help SB 403 become a law.

Please contact your state Senator and encourage him or her to vote in support of SB 403 when it comes up for a vote.  To locate your senator’s contact information, please visit

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