The achievement of mydriasis in conscious birds is only possible by using neuromuscular blocking agents such as curariform drugs
. To determine the efficacy of the neuromuscular blocking agent rocuronium bromide as a mydriatic agent in European kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) and to assess possible adverse effects due to its use, 10 kestrels received a single topical instillation with a pipette of 0.12 mg of rocuronium in each eye (total dose, 0.24 mg/bird).
Presumably its use in Operation Desert Storm would be to protect persons from the effects of a type of nerve gas; it is already approved by FDA for use as an antidote to curariform drugs
and gallamine triethoxide, drugs that have toxic effects related to those of the nerve gas in question.
(56) Anesthesiologists hailed the advent of curariform drugs in surgery, because their paralytic properties obviated the need for massive, and potentially dangerous, doses of anesthesia to control unwanted movement.
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.
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.
Curariform drugs are mentioned only briefly in the AVMA guidelines, and almost always with disapproval.
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.
As it turns out, there is some discrepancy in the various counts of states that ban the use of curariform drugs, (138) a discrepancy that most likely reflects the nuances of the various laws rather than any real disagreement about their substance.
Some states have not traditionally been counted as implicitly banning curariform drugs because their statutes or published regulations do not provide a list of specifically approved drugs.
--Comments submitted by the Humane Society of the United States in Support of House Bill 559 Banning the Use of Curariform Drugs in Maryland, 1979.