Wayne Pacelle is the president and chief executive officer of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). This Op-Ed is adapted from a post on the blog A Humane Nation, where the content ran before appearing in LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
This has been a year of real progress in ending the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers in animal shelters. Texas banned chamber use on dogs and cats statewide; Mississippi and South Carolina have now closed what we believe to be their last working chambers; Michigan legislators are likely to pass a bill to outlaw chamber use; and Kansas is poised to promulgate regulations banning such chambers this fall.
Just last month, animal advocates closed two more carbon monoxide gas chambers in North Carolina and one in South Carolina, thanks to funding and support provided through The HSUS. We're working with every shelter and agency ready to shift away from carbon monoxide chamber use.
While we are working to end the use of inhumane methods of euthanasia in shelters, we are also working to end the euthanasia of healthy and adoptable cats and dogs altogether.
One effort The HSUS is very proud of is our work to promote the adoption of shelter animals. In honor of National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month last month, The HSUS and its partners — Maddie's Fund, the Ad Council and Halo Pet Foundation — released a video series called "Meet My Shelter Pet" to showcase the unique bonds between shelter pets and their adoptive owners. One of the videos features music man and Late Show with David Letterman band leader, Paul Shaffer — who leads The World's Most Dangerous Band, the CBS Orchestra. Shaffer, with his daughter Victoria, show off the lovable personalities of their four adopted dogs, Riley, Jake, Echo and Rue.
The videos are part of The Shelter Pet Project, a public-service advertising campaign launched in 2009 to positively change the perception of shelter pets. Shelter-pet adoptions are on the rise in the United States. More than 17 million people will acquire a dog or cat within the next year, and each year, four million of those animals are adopted from shelters or rescues.
Despite such gains, however, 2.7 million healthy and treatable pets are still losing their lives in shelters each year.
The Shelter Pet Project's goal is to bring that number down to zero. To watch the videos or search for your next shelter pet, visit TheShelterPetProject.org.
Inhumane euthanasia is one of the long-standing problems for animal advocates — but day by day, and shelter by shelter, we are getting closer to where we all want to be.
Pacelle's most recent Op-Ed was "Devastation in Philippines Draws Support for People and Pets" This article was adapted from "The World's Most Dangerous Band Promotes Shelter Pets," which first appeared on the HSUS blog A Humane Nation. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on LiveScience.