The U.S. Department of Justice has published this notice in the Federal Register, asking for comments about the use of pentobarbital in executions.
This may be another step in the game of execution whack-a-mole. When the gas chamber and electrocution were the common methods of execution, they were attacked with an argument that the pain inherent in those methods was unnecessary because the three-drug lethal injection method was painless. When that method was widely adopted, it was attacked with an argument that the single-drug barbiturate method presented far less risk of pain. When that method was widely adopted, some experts crawled out of the woodwork to claim that it presents an unacceptable risk of painful pulmonary edema.
Veterinarians euthanize animals with an injected overdose of barbiturates every day. The National Academy of Sciences publication Recognition and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals notes, “Nonhuman primates are usually euthanatized by an intravenous overdose of sodium pentobarbital (100 mg/kg).”
Have the vets and research scientists been torturing animals all this time? Are man’s closest relatives so different from us that we are in great risk of severe pain from this procedure when they are not? Neither seems likely. Are some experts willing to warp science to serve a Politically Correct goal? That happens all the time in today’s degraded state of academia.
I would be interested in hearing from anyone with expertise in this area. Comments on the DOJ notice are due in 60 days.