Sen. Marty Knollenberg
Sen. Marty Knollenberg

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate unanimously approved legislation on Wednesday that would require all animal shelters that euthanize animals to use lethal injection — which is widely considered to be the most humane method.

Senate Bill 403, sponsored by state Sen. Marty Knollenberg, would amend the current law that regulates animal shelters and pet shops to outlaw the use of gas chambers and codify, within state statute, what is already the standard procedure among shelters.

“I am proud to bring Michigan in line with 22 other states that currently ban this practice,” said Knollenberg, R-Troy. “This not only puts an end to an incredibly cruel process, but it also provides safety measures for shelter workers who should not face the risk of being poisoned because of their profession.”

As of January 2016, all use of gas chambers as a means to euthanize animals at shelters in Michigan had ceased. Knollenberg’s bill would prohibit any shelter from using gas chambers in the future.

Injection as a means of euthanasia for animals takes a few seconds to render an animal unconscious, while a gas chamber cycle takes one to 25 minutes to render multiple animals unconscious — not all of them are euthanized at the same moment.

“An animal’s last moments should not be subject to such a process,” Knollenberg said. “Hopefully, this bill will make an already emotionally difficult process for families much more humane.”

SB 403 is currently before the House Committee on Regulatory Reform for consideration.