Letters, Feb. 18, 2016 

A Rude Nude and Pass the Ban on Chambers

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A Rude Nude
Was it that necessary to post a picture of a nude drawing depicting two gay men having sex in the Feb. 4 issue of City Weekly ["He's Got a Feeling"]?

Your paper disgusts me.
Jordan Taggart
Salt Lake City

Editor's note: The image that Taggart refers to is a detail of "The Imprudent Boy," a painting in the background of artist Andrew Moncrief's photograph. The piece is part of the exhibit A Strange Feeling, on display at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibit actually depicts both the intimacy and aggression of wrestling.

Pass the Ban on Chambers
For the third time in three years, the Legislature is considering a bill to ban gas chambers to euthanize pets and wild animals. In previous years, Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, and Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, both attempted to pass bills to ban carbon-monoxide chambers that a handful of cities in Utah use to kill animals.

Although chambers are recognized as a method to euthanize animals, most animal-control services now use injections with sodium pentobarbital as the preferred and recommended method.

The biggest problem with the gas chambers is that they don't always work. The standard operating method is to place the animal in the chamber, turn on the gas and usually in less than 30 seconds, the animal drops unconscious to the chamber floor. After about 30 minutes, the chamber is cleared of gas and the supposedly dead animal is removed. It is then placed in a freezer to kill it again. There have been cases where, after all that, the animal is still alive.

Much of the concern about using gas chambers to kill animals is that for the final 30 seconds of their lives, animals could be panicking. In some cases, they howl, which is extremely disturbing to the staff operating the chamber. They shouldn't have to die a cold and horrific death. Injection is the preferred method because they can be more comfortable going to sleep in the arms of someone comforting.

The argument that gas chambers are needed for wild animals like raccoons is no longer valid. Former Salt Lake County Animal Services Director Mike Reberg created a program that solves the problem of wild raccoons in residential areas. For about $88,000 a year, Salt Lake County and any interested cities may use the services of federally managed raccoon and wild-animal specialists to catch and remove them from residential areas. Four cities including Salt Lake City have signed on to use this service. It is more cost effective than catching raccoons and maintaining/using a gas chamber. Salt Lake City is paying $35,000 a year and the more cities that sign on, the lower the individual cost.

A reasonable compromise is found in this year's House Bill 0187S01, sponsored by Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville. Having recently passed a House committee and on its way to the House floor, this bill would ban the use of a gas chamber for wild animals after July 1, 2018, and bans the use of a chamber for domestic animals after July 1, 2017.

In the best of all worlds, animal-control services wouldn't have to kill animals. But in the real world, there are too many abandoned animals. Many organizations have worked hard to find adoptive families for cats and dogs. In Salt Lake County, the County Animal Services shelter has been able to maintain a no-kill status with the help of many volunteers and separate organizations like the Humane Society and Best Friends Animal Society.

If you are able, please consider adopting a pet from your local animal services organization. They also need volunteers to help ensure that the animals are given love and attention while in the shelter. Kittens are especially prone to wasting away if they are not given attention.
George Chapman
Salt Lake City

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