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Scope Statement. Identify and explain the various methods of euthanasia and options for disposal of animal carcasses and address the operational, safety, and emotional elements associated with these activities. Terminal Learning Objective.

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Scope statement
Scope Statement

Identify and explain the various methods of euthanasia and options for disposal of animal carcasses and address the operational, safety, and emotional elements associated with these activities.

Terminal learning objective
Terminal Learning Objective

Identify euthanasia and disposal measures that control, prevent the spread of, and eradicate animal disease.

Enabling learning objectives
Enabling Learning Objectives

4-1 List effective methods and resources used for animal carcass disposal during an animal disease event.

4-2 Identify personnel safety concerns associated with euthanasia and disposal procedures.

4-3 Review the process of indemnification based on fair market value of destroyed animals and materials.

4-4 Describe the content of on-site educational materials that will be provided to producers, farmers, and responders.

Euthanasia activities incident command
Euthanasia Activities &Incident Command

Health and safety considerations
Health and Safety Considerations

How does the safety officer assist command?

  • Monitors and observes risks unique to agriculture

  • Alters, suspends or terminates unsafe acts or conditions

Safety issues
Safety Issues

  • Walking and working surfaces

  • Slips, trips, and falls

  • Heavy equipment operations

  • Trench operations

  • Animal restraint equipment

  • Nighttime operations

  • Burning operations

  • Working with animals

  • Euthanasia procedures

  • Heat and/or cold stress

  • Fatigue

  • Mental and physical stress

  • Working in inclement weather

Euthanasia team safety
Euthanasia Team Safety

  • Size and body weight of animals

  • Temperament of the species

  • Animals generally regarded as dangerous

  • Obscure operator vision and excessive noise

  • Animals’ familiarity with humans

  • Presence and demeanor of animal owner

Coping with traumatic events
Coping with Traumatic Events

  • Any person exposed to depopulation and disposal operations may suffer negative impacts and manifest in one or more of the following areas:

    • Physical symptoms

    • Cognitive or thought disturbances

    • Emotional changes

    • Behavioral changes

Animal welfare and handling
Animal Welfare and Handling

  • Euthanasia methods must be humane, safe, and appropriate to the species involved

  • Guidance from Section 4 of AVMA Guidelines

Humane animal handling
Humane Animal Handling

  • Animal handling help may be recruited from the local community

    • assistants should be briefed in safe work practices and non-abusive animal handling techniques

  • Euthanasia Team Leaders will require additional personnel to accomplish their mission

How are appraisal and indemnification accomplished
How are appraisal and indemnification accomplished?

  • Prior to euthanasia the animals should be appraised

  • Confirmed by an animal heath authority

  • Fair market value utilized


Process uses five common steps

  • Select most appropriate method

  • Select a site for euthanasia

  • Assess and request resources needed

  • Implement euthanasia

  • Withdraw from premises and prepare C&D and support to producer or farm

Physical methods euthanasia
Physical Methods Euthanasia

  • Captive bolt

    • Most practical in a mass euthanasia situation

  • Gunshot

    • method of choice for loose housed animals

    • where physical restraint is impractical or unavailable

Gunshot to the heart is not an approved AVMA method for euthanasia

Chemical methods
Chemical Methods

  • Carbon dioxide

    • Method of choice for swine and small ruminants

    • Concentrations above 25%

  • Water-based foam

    • Rapid and humane

    • Floor-raised poultry

  • Anesthetic Overdose

    • Animals closely associated with owners

Euthanasia site selection
Euthanasia Site Selection

  • Facilitate with carcass removal process

  • Located on level ground

    • Animal breaks loose

    • Allow heavy equipment

  • Construction of portable confinement and road access

Assessing needs
Assessing Needs

Euthanasia decisions are based on several factors:

  • Location of animals to euthanize

  • Disease agent involved

  • Animal species involved

  • Number & size of animals

Assessing needs1
Assessing Needs

Euthanasia decisions are based on several factors:

  • Training, experience, skill of personnel

  • Equipment and supplies available

  • Emotional impact of euthanasia procedure

  • Personnel safety

  • Public perception

Implementation of euthanasia
Implementation of Euthanasia

  • Protection of the public and responder

    • Adverse effect on consumers

    • PIO prepared to address public

    • Media requests through JIC

    • Law enforcement reroute traffic

  • Administering euthanasia

    • Proper training for personnel

    • Very physically demanding

    • Local assistance such as slaughterhouse

Concluding euthanasia
Concluding Euthanasia

  • May last hours or several days

  • Euthanasia team heavily contaminated

  • Extensive cleaning and disinfecting for team, equipment, and premises

Introduction to animal disposal
Introduction to Animal Disposal

Occurs simultaneously with euthanasia using five common steps

  • Select appropriate disposal method

  • Assess and request resources

  • Site for disposal

  • Implement disposal

  • Secure the site

Common disposal methods
Common Disposal Methods

Burial onsite is preferred method of disposal

  • Trench

    • More expeditious and inexpensive

  • Landfill

    • Concern for public opposition

    • Arrangements made in advance

  • Mass burial sites

    • Systems to collect gas and leachate

Recommended to lance the stomachs of ruminants allowing gases to escape before burial

Common disposal methods1
Common Disposal Methods

  • Composting

    • Requires abundant oxygen

    • Deactivates disease from temperature and pH

    • Requires well drained area away from water source

    • Security from scavenger species

    • Downwind of residences

  • Incineration

    • Open air burning

    • Air-curtain incineration

Other disposal methods
Other Disposal Methods

  • Rendering

    • Transportation

    • Capacity

    • Cleaning and Disinfection

  • Methane digestion

    • Dairy farms

    • Co-generation facilities

Rendering least used option due to capacity and transportation issues

Site selection
Site Selection

  • Burial site selected using GIS and soil surveys

  • Maps identify three typical zones

    • Exclusion zone

    • Cautionary or limited zones

    • Acceptable zones

Assess and request disposal resources
Assess and Request Disposal Resources

  • Information needed to dispatch Disposal Team

    • Number and size of animals

    • Carcass location and disposal site location

    • Inventory of on-farm equipment available to assist

    • Estimate of heavy equipment operators needed

    • Obstacles to ingress and egress on site

Implementing disposal
Implementing Disposal

  • Choose method using best industry, scientific, and regulatory practices

  • Plans should identify method long before need arises

  • Disposal site security

    • People and animal scavengers

  • Environmental impact and continuous monitoring after incident


  • Euthanasia and disposal is critical to reduce spread of disease

  • Animal restraint and depopulation must be humane

  • Personal safety is paramount in all activities

  • Disposal occurs simultaneously with euthanasia

  • Disposal options will depend upon characteristics of the premises and regulatory requirements