put down

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References in periodicals archive ?
In fact, what animal euthanasia practices reveal is that a dignified--and much safer--death can be achieved without a paralyzing agent.
Decades of review and study have led to a consensus in the veterinary and animal welfare communities with respect to the safest and most humane method of animal euthanasia. That method is an anesthetic-only procedure involving an overdose of the barbiturate sodium pentobarbital.
(115) Experts on both sides of the lethal injection controversy agree that a barbiturate, given in the dosage used in most states' lethal injection protocols, would reliably cause death--just as it does in animal euthanasia. (116) The crucial difference between the three-drug procedure used in lethal injections in humans and the anesthetic-only procedure used in animal euthanasia is the absence of the second and third drugs in the latter procedure.
Not only does the Humane Society agree with the AVMA that the anesthetic-only procedure is the preferred method for animal euthanasia, but it expressly condemns the use of curariform drugs like the one used in human lethal injections.
The testimony of veterinarians shows that the actual day-to-day euthanasia practices conform to the guidelines established by the Humane Society and the AVMA, and that neuromuscular blocking agents have no place in animal euthanasia. (129) A review of lethal injection litigation throughout the country did not yield a single instance of a veterinarian testifying that the use of such a drug is an accepted component of any animal euthanasia procedure.
Even more striking than the fact that veterinary professionals condemn the use of curariform drugs in the euthanasia process is that, as discussed in Part III, the use of such drugs in animal euthanasia is actually illegal in many states that nevertheless continue to use them in human lethal injections.
(134) A Texas state judge noted in his dissent from a denial of a stay of execution in Ex Parte Hopkins that "a national trend that recognizes that pancuronium bromide is inhumane for use in animals can also be said to be a national trend that recognizes that pancuronium bromide is inhumane for use in human beings." (135) In Beardslee, the Ninth Circuit noted that "it is somewhat significant" that numerous states had banned the use of curariform drugs during animal euthanasia, (136) and lawyers have counted, and listed, state statutes in various pleadings on behalf of death row inmates.
Nevertheless, a thorough study of the laws and regulations governing animal euthanasia in several states suggests that the number of states either explicitly or implicitly banning neuromuscular blocking agents has been significantly under-counted, even by advocates for death row inmates.
In an attempt to clarify the status of state law on the issue, a review of the animal euthanasia laws and regulations in all fifty states was undertaken, first to determine whether any state explicitly allows the use of neuromuscular blocking agents such as pancuronium in animal euthanasia (short answer: no); second, to determine how many states explicitly or implicitly banned the use of neuromuscular blocking agents (short answer: the vast majority); and finally, to determine whether the states that do ban neuromuscular blocking agents do so for reasons that are relevant to the lethal injection controversy (short answer: yes).
Every state has some law or regulation governing some aspect of animal euthanasia, (140) but not a single one explicitly sanctions the use of a paralyzing agent in the administration of animal euthanasia.
Nine states explicitly ban the use of neuromuscular blocking agents in animal euthanasia, regardless of whether they are used in conjunction with anesthesia.
Texas, which requires the use of either pentobarbital or "commercially compressed carbon monoxide" in animal euthanasia, is one example.
In an effort to investigate how states stand on the issue, Alper provides a uniquely thorough examination and categorization of all the state laws and regulations that control animal euthanasia as well as the legislative histories that led to their enactment.
"[I]n many instances," the serum thiopental levels "were much lower than that which would be required for general anesthesia." (92) In addition, not only did the execution personnel "in many jurisdictions" have "no anesthesia or medical training," but there was no direct administration of the drugs to the inmate, no monitoring of the inmate's level of consciousness, no supervision of the procedure's end result, nor any consistency with standard veterinary practices in the administration of animal euthanasia. The results of the Lancet article were not without criticism or controversy, however, and a number of researchers wrote the Lancet's editor with their objections.
Nor is thiopental the dominant drug for animal euthanasia; rather sodium pentobarbital is the most frequently selected agent.