From: Randy N. Warner
Available online at
In 2003, United States still uses gas chambers, compression chambers, clubbing, shooting, drowning and
electrocution to kill the poor animals that have done nothing wrong but to be born to ignorant and apathetic humans.
The "Kill Them With Kindness Campaign"
for a FEDERAL euthanasia law
Copyright Jim Willis 2002
As one of the principals in this campaign, I'll attempt a brief summary about efforts for a bill that will establish the first FEDERAL humane euthanasia of animals law in the USA - that being sedation/tranquilization (because animals are sentient beings who experience fear and trauma) followed by lethal intravenous injection of sodium pentobarbital administered by veterinarians or trained, certified euthanasia technicians, ONLY! That means no CO2 and carbon monoxide gas chambers, no compression chambers, no clubbing, no shooting, no drowning or electrocution. This law should apply specifically to all companion animal species and ANY species housed by any shelter or pound in America. (Studies have already shown that sodium pentobarbital is cheaper than gas.) At some point we may form an official Coalition and establish a public e-list to discuss this issue. We will need Congressional sponsors of the bill and animal-law experts to assist with drafting the bill. Until then:
1. This is the most simplistic campaign possible. Already every no-kill shelter and kill shelter in America utilizing the above recommended method is in compliance. The horrible examples from some shelters and dog pounds have been frequently exposed in the media (and watched by our children on TV). As one advocate put it, "this campaign has spread like wildfire." Shame on anyone who attempts to complicate or impede it.
2. Some representatives of national and international organizations have promised to support such a measure, although those may not yet be official commitments. (You should soon start seeing something about this on many of their websites.) Some groups are unable to meet on this issue until October. I propose thinking about how we'll proceed further and then waiting until after Sept. 11th, because the nation's attention should rightfully be turned to memorializing the victims of 9-11. Come Sept. 12, let it rip! For all those candidates currently running for election in November - here is your new platform issue, and if you don't add it, it's going to cost you votes.
3. We've heard from one naysayer - a legal expert from a national organization who basically said "a federal law is not possible at this time." We beg to differ. We already have a federal Animal Welfare Act (such as it is and Sen. Jesse Helms notwithstanding) - we will pass this bill, too. Tell your objections directly to the millions of animals who are dragged yowling and screaming to a tin box where they die a clawing, panicky death while hot carbon monoxide fumes pour into their lungs. And good luck justifying to your membership, volunteers and contributors why your organization chose to not support this measure. If you're not in this campaign, stand aside, because you're likely to be trampled.
4. A federal law is not only possible, humane euthanasia practices are already the law in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and all of the Scandinavian countries. We need to lose any jingoistic attitudes now and consult experts from other countries about how to achieve this. Further, this campaign does not need to stay American - all of you advocates in Canada and Australia, for example, should be working on the same issue.
5. This is not an "animal welfare" or an "animal rights" campaign. This in no way detracts from any efforts to establish a no-kill shelter system in America (should that successfully come about, it will simply make this federal law obsolete). This only supports your local and state campaigns for similar measures (and makes future such efforts unnecessary). This campaign is in no way a condemnation of any shelter that practices euthanasia; we already know there aren't enough good homes for the animals in your care. (If you're a purist philosopher who doesn't endorse the "concept" of euthanasia - have you been to a major metro shelter lately? YOU find homes for them!) This bill will not perpetuate any unsuitable "animal welfare" practices, it's a long overdue step to prevent cruel murder. By passing this bill, we will force government at all levels to pay attention to all the reasons and necessities for euthanasia: lack of low-cost spay/neuter programs, poor enforcement of licensing and animal welfare laws, proliferation of puppy mills and backyard breeders, irresponsibility of some pet guardians, lack of animal-friendly rental properties, public officials who don't give a damn about animals, etc. This law will create jobs and income for euth. technicians and veterinarians. When it achieves its full impact, it will actually reduce the tax burden on the public. This campaign will put the killing in front of the public - many of whom still believe that animals go to a shelter and then all go to loving homes or a "farm in the country." This law addresses the frustration and mental anguish that volunteers, rescuers, and shelter employees have endured for decades and the time is NOW! For the animals who have already experienced a horrible death, this law has been a long time in coming. As Gandhi said, "A nation and its moral progress can be judged by how its animals are treated."
6. This is a campaign that should and must be supported by everyone with the slightest connection to animals - that includes all the registries (AKC, CFA, TICA, etc.), all the breeders and breed clubs, all the shelter management and workers, all the rescuers, all the animal organizations, all the list-owners, all the pet guardians and every animal lover, all vets and euthanasia technicians, every pet columnist and investigative reporter, all the pet supply store owners - everyone! Reactions from some national reps. have been "Finally, a campaign we can all work on together!" This is it folks - no matter our individual views and agendas - vegan and meat-eater, Republican, Democrat or Independent, this requires YOU writing to Congress, your local government, and any animal-related group you support in any manner. Every list, every group, every rescue and rescuer should already be discussing this issue and the letters and mailing list they intend to use. While you wait and deliberate and discuss and take meetings and postpone, think of the animals who are at this very moment choking on the hot fumes. While this campaign comes together ask your local media to report on euthanasia practices in your community NOW!
7. No group or individual should be proprietary about this campaign. It is OUR campaign for the animals. We've failed them for decades - even this bill/law is too little, too late. If we can't guarantee them anything else, yet, we can and will guarantee them a gentle, compassionate death. A proposed name for the campaign and tagline - if you like it, use it - if you have a better suggestion, let one of us know: "The 'Kill Them With Kindness Campaign': Please support a FEDERAL humane euthanasia of animals law."
8. Eventually, all of us in this will begin naming the groups who have made this an official campaign and promised their support. You will be conspicuous by your absence. Please put this issue and a letter-writing campaign on your personal agenda. (*Anyone of any stature in advocacy who would like to contribute a supportive quotation for this campaign can send those directly to me
firstname.lastname@example.org or Livi French,
email@example.com, and we'll make use of them.)
Will you starting drafting your letters today and making additions to your websites?
And lastly, a poem dedicated to this effort.
The Tiergarten Sanctuary Trust
GOOD NIGHT, PRECIOUS
Copyright Jim Willis 2002
Before you die, unwanted one,
I swear there was no way,
I tried - I did! - I promise...
I cried, I cursed, I prayed.
I mailed, I called, I pleaded,
for one to make room for you,
but only Heaven responded,
and there you'll find your due.
You've the most honest eyes I've seen,
a heart so loyal and true -
but our society has decided,
you've no purpose or value.
I wish that I could change things,
you've been wronged - it is not right!
But all I can offer, Precious...
a gentle passing into that good night.
Copyright Jim Willis 2002 - Used With Permission