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30) To fully comprehend the dangers of pancuronium, and the reasons why it is shunned in the practice of animal euthanasia, it is instructive first to consider briefly its origins and history.
The model for this suggested method of execution, of course, is animal euthanasia, which typically involves an overdose of one drug, an anesthetic much like the first drug used in human lethal injections.
Certainly the animal welfare community is aware of the dangers of curare and curariform drugs; concerns about those drugs are reflected in both the professional standards of those who perform animal euthanasia, and in the laws and regulations governing animal euthanasia.
THE ANESTHETIC-ONLY PROCEDURE FOR ANIMAL EUTHANASIA
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.
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.
The vast majority of animal euthanasia takes place not in the offices of veterinarians but in animal shelters, where millions of dogs and cats are euthanized each year.
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.
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.
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.