Reminder: Depopulation comments due April 16

Published on March 13, 2017

Commenting Period Open Make Your Voice Heard

The volunteer experts who make up the AVMA Panel on Depopulation are awaiting additional comments from AVMA members before completing the AVMA’s first detailed guidance on this topic.

The panel’s draft of the first-ever AVMA Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals is available for review and comment by all AVMA members, and we strongly encourage all members to share their thoughts with the panel on this important issue. Comments on the draft are due no later than April 16.

Depopulation refers to the large-scale, rapid destruction of multiple animals in response to an emergency situation, such as a hazardous zoonotic or foreign animal disease outbreak, natural disaster, terrorist activity, or radiological incident. The guidelines apply once a decision to depopulate has been made. Consistent with the AVMA's approach to euthanasia, they reflect the AVMA’s concern for the ethical treatment of animals at all stages of life. The guidelines aim to ensure as much consideration is given to animal welfare as practicable within the constraints of an emergency.

To best protect animal welfare, the guidelines support advance planning for emergency situations and provide guidance for making decisions during an emergency.

Your input makes AVMA’s efforts stronger

The development of AVMA policy is a collaborative process that works best with broad involvement by the AVMA’s member veterinarians. These draft guidelines include recommendations for how to manage the emergency depopulation of companion animals, laboratory animals, bovines, swine, small ruminants, poultry, equids, aquatics, and captive and free-ranging wildlife, and we encourage all AVMA members to review and comment on the draft.

More than 50 volunteers participated in the drafting of this guidance, including representatives from a variety of veterinary organizations including the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, American Association of Avian Pathologists, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners, and American Animal Hospital Association. The U.S. Department of Agriculture supported the development of the guidelines financially through a cooperative agreement and provided an advisor to the panel, as did the National Institutes of Health.

The draft guidelines represent the third prong of the AVMA’s three-part Humane Endings series. The AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals were most recently revised in 2013, and the first edition of the AVMA Guidelines for the Humane Slaughter of Animals was released in 2016.