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On 1st June 2022, the Ohio Senate passed unanimously a bill to prohibit animal shelters from using gas chambers to kill unwanted companion animals. Senate Bill 164, sponsored by Sens. Jay Hottinger, R-Newark, and Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, still needs to be voted on in the House of Representatives.

Animal shelters have been using CO2 to kill dogs that have not been adopted for some time (because many so-called “pet lovers” rather buy a dog from a breeder than rescue one from a kill shelter), but if the bill is passed this will be unlawful in Ohio. This bill also increases penalties in animal cruelty cases and criminalises reckless behaviour such as animal caregivers not providing adequate food or water.

However, Teresa Landon, executive director of Ohio’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), said that she does not know of any animal shelters in the State that use gas chambers, as the last of Ohio’s animal gas chambers were removed from Erie County in 2021. But this bill will prevent these cruel practices to resume in the future.

Senator Jay Hottinger said, “(The bill is) the next step to protect not only, you know, our pets, our companion animals, but also I think it really does serve as a significant protection against future crimes against humanity as well.”  Senator Kenny Yuko said, “Too many times we look the other way because they’re animals but to those of us who have pets or have had them in the past, it’s a lot more than that.”  It is a shame that the bill only covers companion animals in shelters and not other domestic animals in farms and slaughterhouses, who can be killed using gas chambers too (a method often used to kill pigs). Both dogs and pigs will feel the same agony when suffocating for minutes before dying, but speciesist societies are outraged when this happens to one of them and ignore it when it happens to the other. In a vegan world, though, equal protection would be given to both.