Humane killing of animals for disease control purposes
Rev Sci Tech Off Int Epizoot
Killing for disease control purposes is an emotional issue for everyone concerned. Large-scale euthanasia or depopulation of animals may be necessary for the emergency control or eradication of animal diseases, to remove animals from a compromised situation (e.g. following flood, storm, fire, drought or a feed contamination event), to effect welfare depopulation when there is an oversupply due to a dysfunctional or closed marketing channel, or to depopulate and dispose of animals with minimal
... mals with minimal handling to decrease the risk of a zoonotic disease infecting humans. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) developed international standards to provide advice on humane killing for various species and situations. Some fundamental issues are defined, such as competency of animal handling and implementation of humane killing techniques. Some of these methods have been used for many years, but novel approaches for the mass killing of particular species are being explored. Novel vaccines and new diagnostic techniques that differentiate between vaccinated and infected animals will save many animals from being killed as part of biosecurity response measures. Unfortunately, the destruction of affected livestock will still be required to control diseases whilst vaccination programmes are activated or where effective vaccines are not available. This paper reviews the principles of humane destruction and depopulation and explores available techniques with their associated advantages and disadvantages. It also identifies some current issues that merit consideration, such as legislative conflicts (emergency disease legislation versus animal welfare legislation, occupational health and safety), media issues, opinions on the future approaches to killing for disease control, and animal welfare.