Euthanasia

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Euthanasia

Postby Acsuth on Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:25 am

This topic is bound to be controversial, but I feel very strongly about this and feel the need to speak out against what I consider cruelty. In the past week alone I have read posts from at least 5 or 6 different members talking about freezing their snails as a 'humane' form of euthanasia. I'm hearing a pattern of repeat that seems to go something like, "They hibernate and die in their sleep painlessly" etc....so I've just gotta ask, "Says who?" It's so easy to just throw your suffering snail in the freezer, isn't it?....I think that's the key phrase here --"easy for you"....If one truly feels compelled to end the suffering of an animal, then shouldn't that life be ended as abruptly as possible? Freezing an animal to death, even a 'lowly little snail', is a slow-degenerating, agonizing way to go. Some people propogate freezing fish as an acceptable form of euthanasia. Bettas have been observed put outside in freezing temperatures -- they thrash around for over half an hour before eventually succumbing to an icy death(see http://www.bettasrus.com). Personally, I take the time to make any sickly or injured snails as comfortable as possible in their last hours...temperate water low enough that they can stick their siphon out of the water without having to move, a little dose of melafix...and I hope for the best, in whatever condition they're in. That's just me, here are some other opinions:

http://www.fauvet.fau.edu/oacm/VetData/Euthunac.htm

http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/euthanasia.shtml

http://www.research.psu.edu/arp/euthanasia.shtml

http://www.iacuc.arizona.edu/training/s ... nasia.html

Please think twice before putting your snails or other animals in the freezer. :cry:
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Postby Leonora on Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:55 am

Acsuth,

I TOTALLY agree !!!!!

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Postby luvfishies on Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:00 am

I'm on board as well.

I use oil of clove if I have to euthanise a fish.
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Postby Donya on Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:13 am

While I, personally, have never frozen a snail, there are a few good reasons why it is considered by many people to be along the lines of putting a dog or cat to sleep by lethal injection rather than by dumping a cat or dog into a freezing lake to euthanize it:

1. Snails are not warm blooded. When a warm blooded animal freezes, it is torture because the body tries to maintain the temperature and you wind up with hypothermia, etc.. Snails are not homeothermic so their reaction is completely different from a mammal or bird "freezing to death".

2. Because snails are cold blooded, decreasing the temperature makes them slow down, just like with reptiles. If you make a reptile too cold, they go into a sleep-like state where they are not really conscious. Make them colder than that and nervous functions cease slowly while unconscious. Snails have a less sophicstocated nervous system, and so the same thing would happen, only with even less consciousness.

3. Snails are not designed to survive freezing temperatures, so the case of freezing something and reanimating it by accident are nonexistant in snails (I dont' see this argument anywhere on this thread, but I have heard it outside the forum). There have been some horrific stories of what happens when people try to euthanize box turtles by freezing, and then they reanimate when thawed with tissue damage. Box turtles are designed to withstand freezing temperatures, snails and most other cold blooded animals arn't. So, snails once frozen will not go through any similar kind of grusome event like that.



Now, while I am neither pro nor anti-euthanisia most of the time, here is a case to consider: I had a snail a few months ago that literally fell out of its shell. No shell, just unrolled snail. Every time the poor thing moved it winced and squirmed about in pain. There was no fixing it, and the poor thing died a horrible death from swelling, rigid paralysis, bleeding, and foot cramping (I had never seen this before, but the foot shrinks involuntarily to 1/4 or less it's normal size while the snail is struggling). There was no way I could make that snail comfortable, and it took 4 long days to die that way. After that, if I see an identical case in the future, I am strongly going to consider the freezer.

However, for cases of "culling" and euthanizing an animal that is not clearly in its death throws (literally), I do not go near the freezer and try to treat the animal's health condition(s) to the best of my abilities.

Those are just my thoughts on the subject. I strongly believe that this is a personal matter for people because of differing religious and other bliefs, and everyone has the right to hold a different opinion.


EDIT: A remark on bettas...they are a fish that has a much bigger temperature tollerance than snails, both for hot and cold water, so I would put them in the same category as box turtles and some frogs with similar problems. There are some species differences in reaction to cold temperatures, but snails seem to have the reptile one.
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Postby Acsuth on Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:48 am

http://www.gsas.org/Articles/1998/heath ... nasia.html

This article talks a bit about warmblooded vs. coldblooded animals and freezing them. It seems some people are of the opinion that freezing isn't near as bad for warmblooded creatures. The idea that coldblooded animals just slow down and hiberate into a peaceful death is as much of a myth as saying you can boil a frog to death painlessly by slowly increasing the temperature so that he doesnt *feel* the burning until he dies. Just because the snail(or amphibian or reptile etc coldblooded animal) can't scream, doesn't mean he's painlessly degenerating within your freezer.

Religious or personal preference?? maybe...though different words like "laziness", "ignorance" and "callousness" are the first to come to my mind. Euthanize your animal if you believe it should be done -- I'm not questioning that. Please use a HUMANE method such as some listed on the links as opposed to an easy, cruel method -- that is my point. If your snail isn't dying pretty much instantly -- you are torturing him.

EDIT: you are wrong about bettas. They do not withstand extreme temperatures well. They are a tropical species that thrive best in the same temps as our apple snails.
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Postby BobbyKat LittleCub on Thu Oct 14, 2004 3:16 am

:cry: I have a feeling this started because of me.
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Postby Acsuth on Thu Oct 14, 2004 11:51 am

I have a feeling this started because of me.


I didn't bring this up because of any one person -- please don't feel that way. Nor do I enjoy hurting anyone's feelings. I'm not against euthanasia if someone wants to put their suffering snail out of misery...I also think the members that have put their snails in the freezer before were doing it innocently -- truly believing that it was a good way for them to go.
It seems that so many people here are truly under the impression that freezing would be a quick pain-free way for a snail. This would be contrary to every report I have read on the subject of euthanasia. So, I am merely bringing up the other side of the story -- in hopes that everyone will choose for themselves how to best handle a suffering snail situation.
So, basically, freeze your snail if you must or feel it as a personal/religious choice -- just be informed on what you are truly doing.

thanks,
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Postby Donya on Thu Oct 14, 2004 4:16 pm

Article quote:
Since most fish commonly kept in aquaria are endothermic, they do not maintain a steady internal body temperature.

Wrong, partly. Fish are ectothermic and do not maintain a steady temperature.

I have to wonder about the validity of that particular article. The problem I have is that they never address the fact that even with warm blooded animals, when you put a limb into freezing water, it goes numb. I have had this experience. The problem happens when the main part of the body tries to keep its temperature, and that's not something that happens in cold blooded animals. The whole point of cold is that is ceases nervous communication of pain, otherwise you wouldn't use a cold compress on a headache or injury. Hot does the oposite, it speeds stuff up. The cold subject I have read a decent amount about in other articles regarding cold blooded reactions, though I cannot quote the specific sources to you so I will leave it at that until such a time as I happen upon one. I am a bit bothered that they screwed up the termonology in that article...no scientist would mix up ecto and endothermic.

Another point: ok, so freezing may not be 100% humain. What is a better method that is both affordable (i.e. no million dollar chemical injections) and practical? Smashing a snail doesn't work. Sometimes they'll die, other times they'll still be alive. Blender? Same problem. It'll break up the shell and probably be more like sticking a snail in a filter and watching it get slowly chopped up. I don't think that's a very humain approach personally...for fish it may be like the decapitation method, but I have doubts where shelled animals are concerned.
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Postby Acsuth on Thu Oct 14, 2004 4:43 pm

Donya wrote:Another point: ok, so freezing may not be 100% humain. What is a better method that is both affordable (i.e. no million dollar chemical injections) and practical? Smashing a snail doesn't work. Sometimes they'll die, other times they'll still be alive. Blender? Same problem. It'll break up the shell and probably be more like sticking a snail in a filter and watching it get slowly chopped up. I don't think that's a very humain approach personally...for fish it may be like the decapitation method, but I have doubts where shelled animals are concerned.


I agree...the options seem limited...unfortunately, in order to find "humane" methods of euthanizing paticular animals it seems a lot of gruesome testing is in order.

Here are two methods of euthanizing amphibians I'm quoting from the second link in the original post. The ingredients can be obtained fairly easily(easier than liquid nitrogen etc lol)....I have never euthanized a snail personally...I don't really know how I would accomplish it if I felt that it truly needed to be done. Sounds horrific...but a cinder block and a concrete patio come to mind. At any rate, whatever means, I think most would agree what one would be shooting for is the quickest method possible...instant death ideally.

Ethyl alcohol. By sedation in a bath of 5% ethyl alcohol (ethanol) followed by immersion into a stronger bath after the amphibian has been anesthetized.



Benzocaine. Orajel® (and other painkillers containing benzocaine) appear to rapidly anesthetize and euthanize amphibians. This method has not yet been accepted by the National Research Council on Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals, probably due to how recently the publications involving these products have come out. Products containing either 7.5% or 20% benzocaine have been shown to be effective in the euthanasia of amphibians. The original descriptions of this procedure had the gel containing the benzocaine applied to the head of the amphibian, however it has been shown that it may be more effective if applied to the ventral (belly) surface of the animal (this may actually be most effective in anurans, which have pelvic patches, rather than caudates). A 5-mm drop applied to the ventral surface of a Eurycea quadridigitata resulted in relaxation and death in less than one minute (Chen and Combs, 1999).

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Postby Gastro on Thu Oct 14, 2004 10:07 pm

There is a big differernce between immedietly placing a snail in the freezer and putting it in the refrigerator first. In the former way, the snail freezes before it can completely slow down and become torpid. In the latter, it can slow down and become torpid before the lethal blow is delivered.

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Postby Donya on Thu Oct 14, 2004 11:01 pm

That's a good point Gastro. I was just assuming that people would be using a relatively slow cooling method. My freezer is pretty weak so it didn't occur to me that the freezing might occur too fast.
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Postby SnaiLuv81 on Fri Oct 15, 2004 12:41 am

I'm an advocate of euthaniseing a snail that is obviously in pain, and will certainly die. The freezer method seems to be the most widely available method of euthanisation that is still somewhat humane. If I had a snail that was in an advanced state of mantle collapse, even to the paint of losing its shell, I would probably euthanise it. The patio-cinderblock method is also something that I would consider, if the snail was very obviously suffering terribly, such as the case Donya described, with the foot cramping and writhing. I actually have dentist-strength benzocaine in my house, a 40% solution I believe, and if I knew that it would indeed end my suffering snail's pain immediately and painlessly, I would use it.
Amanda, I really do get what you are saying, when you say that euthanising a snail is easier on the person/owner than it is on the snail sometimes, or that some people would find it an easier option, emotionally, than nursing a sick snail through its last days, or on its "deathbed", if you will. It's always a tough call to make. If the snail is weak, but alive and not suffering horribly, it would be better to just keep it in shallow water, so it can breathe, dose it with skin-soothing medications/water treatments, try to feed it if you can, and let it die in its own place and time. I've buried four cats, who all met very different ends, and known a few who would have been better off dead. I've faced the issue of euthanasia in different species, but the emotional and ethical issues are the same. The issues are always difficult.
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Postby snailstreaks on Sun Oct 31, 2004 6:55 am

Oh geez this is kinda of a disturbing topic... but needed I think.

I have put to sleep 2 snails. They were from the purples I had first gotten. Huge massive chip missing in the front.. spires severely damaged. Now... normally I would have still put them into the tank.... given them a chance. However these poor things were packed in peat moss. It was all over them... and in their shells. After rinsing them for an hour... still peat moss was inside their shells on both ends... I couldn't get it out.

Peat moss being acidic... I felt the only thing to do was to put them to sleep. The damage to them was too great to heal... but the peat on them was like salt in the wounds.

That sucked... but in that case I had no choice and they had no comfort or ability to heal.

It is something I only consider as a last resort when the animal is in obvious suffering with no means to ease it... and there is no possible hope for their survival.
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Postby pheonixx on Sun Oct 31, 2004 6:46 pm

That must have been an awfull experiance for you Anne
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Postby Acsuth on Sun Oct 31, 2004 6:57 pm

Sorry to hear that Anne...sometimes there is nothing we can do to save them.

I'd like to explain a method that another member of the forum recently shared with me. Whenever she feels she must end the suffering of a fish or snail -- she mixes up a container of saltwater -- she keeps adding salt and mixing until no more can be dissolved -- then she puts the container in the freezer. Even at 29 degrees F the mixture is still liquid and the suffering animal can then be submerged -- she reports instant death. This doesn't seem too much harder than the regular freezer method and seems to end their life almost immediately.
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