America's Death Penalty method, Banned for Vets

The Drugs used in America’s Lethal Injections wouldn’t even be used on a Dog

42 States have banned the drug Pancuronium bromide used to Paralyze a criminal receiving the death penalty in animal euthanasa.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Nearly all lethal injection executions have occurred in states where veterinarians are not allowed to use the same method to euthanize animals, according to a new study.

One of the three drugs used in executions, the one that paralyzes the condemned inmate, has been banned from use in animal euthanasia by at least 42 states, said the study author Ty Alper, a death penalty opponent and associate director of the Death Penalty Clinic at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law.

Those states include the five leaders in lethal injections – Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, Missouri and North Carolina – and account for 907 of the 929 executions that have been carried out by that method since 1982.

Executions have been on hold while the Supreme Court considers a challenge to lethal injections in a case from Kentucky, among the roughly three dozen states that administer three drugs in succession to knock out, paralyze and kill prisoners.

Related Research

Anesthetizing the Public Conscience: Lethal Injection and Animal Euthanasia


Death Penalty Clinic

Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 35, May 2008



Lawyers challenging lethal injection on behalf of death row inmates have frequently argued that lethal injection protocols do not comport with standard practices for the euthanasia of animals. This article studies state laws governing animal euthanasia and concludes that many more states than have previously been recognized ban the use of paralyzing agents in animal euthanasia. In fact, 97.6% of lethal injection executions in this country have taken place in states that have banned, for use in animal euthanasia, the same drugs that are used in those states during executions. Moreover, a study of the legislative history of state euthanasia laws reveals that the concerns raised about paralyzing drugs in the animal euthanasia context are identical in many ways to the concerns that lawyers for death row inmates are currently raising about the use of those drugs in the lethal injection executions of human beings. This article takes an in depth look at animal euthanasia and its relationship to lethal injection by examining in Part I the history and origins of the paralyzing drugs that veterinarians and animal welfare experts refuse to allow in animal euthanasia; in Part II the standards of professional conduct for veterinary and animal shelter professionals; in Part III, the state laws and regulations governing animal euthanasia; and finally in Part IV, the legislative history that led to the enactment of the various states’ animal euthanasia laws and regulations.

America's Death Penalty method, Vets Can't Use

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