BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                    AB 2505

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          Date of Hearing:  March 29, 2016
          Counsel:               David Billingsley


                       Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr., Chair

                     2505 (Quirk) - As Introduced  February 19, 2016

          SUMMARY:  Prohibits the use of carbon dioxide to euthanize an  

          EXISTING LAW:  

          1)Prohibits the killing of any animal by using any of the  
            following methods:

             a)   Carbon monoxide gas.  (Pen. Code,  597u, subd. (a)(1).)

             b)   Intracardiac injection of a euthanasia agent on a  
               conscious animal, unless the animal is heavily sedated or  
               anesthetized in a humane manner, or comatose, or unless, in  
               light of all the relevant circumstances, the procedure is  
               justifiable.  (Pen. Code,  597u, subd. (a)(2).)

          2)With respect to the killing of any dog or cat, no person,  
            peace officer, officer of a humane society, or officer of a  
            pound or animal regulation department of a public agency shall  
            use any of the methods specified in subdivision (a) or any of  
            the following methods:

             a)   High-altitude decompression chamber; and  (Pen. Code,   


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               597u, subd. (b)(1).)

             b)   Nitrogen gas.  (Pen. Code,  597u, subd. (b)(2).)

          3)States that no person, peace officer, officer of a humane  
            society or officer of a pound or animal regulation department  
            of a public agency shall kill any dog or cat by the use of any  
            high-altitude decompression chamber or nitrogen gas.  (Penal  
            Code Section 597w.)

          4)Provides that it is unlawful for any person to sell, attempt  
            to sell, load or cause to be loaded, transport or attempt to  
            transport any live horse, mule, burro, or pony that is  
            disabled if the animal is intended to be sold, loaded, or  
            transported for commercial slaughter out of California.   
            (Penal Code Section 597x(a).)

          5)Defines "disabled animal" as including, but not limited to,  
            any animal that has broken limbs, is unable to stand and  
            balance itself without assistance, cannot walk, or is severely  
            injured.  (Penal Code Section 597x(b).)

          6)States that a violation of the prohibitions on methods of  
            killing is a misdemeanor.  (Penal Code Section 597y.)

          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          1)Author's Statement:  According to the author, "The use of  
            carbon dioxide (CO2) to euthanize dogs and cats is cost  
            prohibitive, inhumane, dangerous, and unnecessary. However,  
            due to a loophole in existing law, it is still legal to  
            continue this practice.  AB 2505 will close the loophole in  
            current law and prohibit the use of CO2 when euthanizing dogs  
            and cats in California.

          "In a CO2 chamber it can take minutes for dogs and cats to lose  
            consciousness, and sometimes as long as twenty-five minutes  
            for them to expire. Furthermore, some dogs and cats are  
            resistant to CO2, particularly the vulnerable ones like the  


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            sick and elderly. In these cases it takes longer to kill the  
            animal using CO2 and sometimes death is not even achieved.  
            Exposure to CO2 is known to cause animals pain and make them  
            to feel like they are suffocating. Sometimes dogs and cats  
            experience organ failure before losing consciousness.  
            Furthermore, CO2 is hazardous to animal personnel due to the  
            risk of narcosis and complications from faulty equipment.

          "No state agency is tasked with inspecting gas chambers. This  
            safety measure was eliminated in 1998 when the state assumed  
            this practice was banned. As such any shelter in operation of  
            one could be exposing staff and other adoptable animals to  
            hazardous chemicals.

          "The widely accepted humane standard for euthanasia is a method  
            called "euthanasia by injection." This method typically causes  
            dogs and cats to lose consciousness within three to five  
            seconds and die a pain-free death."

          2)Euthanasia by Administration of Carbon Dioxide (CO2):  CO2  
            euthanasia occurs by administration of the gas in a sealed  
            container.  The gas produces unconsciousness and then death.   
            A pressurized cylinder of CO2 is now viewed by a number of  
            international animal research oversight authorities as the  
            only acceptable method.  CO2 may be administered in a home  
            cage or in a specialized compartment and may be used to kill  
            individuals or small groups of animals. 

          Discussions of CO2 euthanasia with various people working in  
            laboratory animal medicine and care (e.g. veterinarians,  
            vivarium directors, technicians) reveal that there are  
            conflicting CO2 practices and recommendations within the  
            animal research community. For example, some institutions  
            require that the euthanasia chamber be prefilled with CO2,  
            while others prohibit the use of prefilled chambers because  
            they appear to cause animal distress. Similar discrepancies in  
            practice have also been noted in regards to concentration,  
            flow rate and presence of oxygen. (Laboratory Animals, Conlee  
            et al. (2005), p. 139.)

          3)American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines for  
            Euthanasia:  The AVMA published their most recent guidelines  


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            regarding animal euthanasia in 2013.  The AVMA laid out strict  
            guidelines for the use of CO2, but did not prohibit its use  
            for euthanasia altogether.  According to the AVMA,  
            "Unfortunately, there are still shelters and animal control  
            operations that do not have access to controlled substances  
            and/or the personnel authorized by the Drug Enforcement  
            Administration (DEA) to administer them.  This limits these  
            facilities' options for euthanizing animals."   
            s-chamber-debate  /)

          The AVMA Guidelines and Restrictions with respect to use of CO2  
            for animal euthanasia are as follows and use of CO2 is only  
            considered acceptable if all the guidelines are met:

             a)   Personnel must be instructed thoroughly in the gas's use  
               and must understand its hazards and limitations;

             b)   The gas source and chamber must be located in a  
               well-ventilated environment, preferably outdoors;

             c)   The gas must be supplied in a precisely regulated and  
               purified form without contaminants or adulterants,  
               typically from a commercially supplied cylinder or tank;

             d)   The gas flow rate must allow operators to achieve known  
               and appropriate gas concentrations within the recommended  

             e)   The chamber must be of the highest-quality construction  
               and should allow for separation of individual animals. If  
               animals need to be combined, they should be of the same  
               species, and, if needed, restrained or separated so that  
               they will not hurt themselves or others. Chambers should  
               not be overloaded and need to be kept clean to minimize  
               odors that might distress animals that are subsequently  

             f)   The chamber must be well lighted and must allow  
               personnel to directly observe the animals;

             g)   If the chamber is inside a room, monitors must be placed  


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               in the room to warn personnel of hazardous concentrations  
               of gas; and

             h)   It is essential that the gas and the chamber be used in  
               compliance with state and federal occupational health and  
               safety regulations.

            In the 2013 Guidelines, euthanasia by intravenous injection of  
            an approved euthanasia agent remains the preferred method for  
            euthanasia of dogs, cats, and other small companion animals.  
            Gas chambers are not recommended for routine euthanasia of  
            cats and dogs in shelters and animal control operations. 

          4)Argument in Support:  According to The Humane Society of the  
            United States, "It goes without saying that the goal of every  
            reputable animal shelter should be to find alternatives to  
            euthanasia whenever possible. But when shelters find  
            themselves in the position of having to euthanize an animal,  
            it is incumbent upon them to ensure that the death is as  
            humane as possible. Nearly twenty years ago, California  
            recognized that death by carbon monoxide gas is inhumane, and  
            outlawed that practice for dogs and cats. Unfortunately, that  
            ban did not also prohibit the use of carbon dioxide gas,  
            creating a loophole. AB 2505 is necessary to close that  
            loophole and ensure no one in California uses carbon dioxide  
            to kill dogs and cats.

          "Recent evidence suggests that carbon dioxide causes even more  
            pain and distress than carbon monoxide; humans describe the  
            effects of carbon dioxide exposure as excruciating. In fact,  
            carbon dioxide exposure is so painful and distressing that  
            starving laboratory animals will actually forgo food when it  
            is offered in a chamber containing the gas.  As far back as  
            2006, at the Newcastle Consensus Meeting on Carbon Dioxide  
            Euthanasia of Laboratory Animals, the scientific community was  
            questioning the ethics of using CO2 to kill animals2, and at  
            the 2014 AVMA Humane Endings Symposium researchers challenged  
            the use of CO2 even at concentrations approved as  
            conditionally acceptable in the AVMA's 2013 Guidelines for the  
            Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition.

          "Carbon dioxide is almost certain to cause pain and distress to  


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            every dog and cat, regardless of concentration level or method  
            of introduction. As such, it is one of the most inhumane  
            methods of euthanasia being practiced today."

          5)Argument in Opposition:  

          6)Prior Legislation:  

             a)   AB 1426 (Liu), Chapter 652, Statutes of 2006, prohibited  
               the killing any animal by means of an intracardiac  
               injection of a euthanasia agent on a conscious animal,  
               unless the animal is heavily sedated or anesthetized in a  
               humane manner, or comatose, or unless, in light of all the  
               relevant circumstances, the procedure is justifiable. 

             b)   SB 1659 (Kopp), Chapter 751, Statutes of 1998,  
               prohibited the use of carbon monoxide to kill any animal.


          Best Friends Animal Society   
          Humane Society of the United States  
          Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association
          LIUNA Locals 777& 792
          San Diego Humane Society
          San Francisco SPCA       
          Stockton Animal Shelter             

          Analysis Prepared  
          by:              David Billingsley / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744


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