AVMA guidelines for the depopulation of animals

The AVMA Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals are intended to help members of the veterinary profession make good decisions that support animal welfare in situations where the difficult decision to depopulate has been made. The recommendations aim to ensure as much consideration is given to animal welfare as practicable within the constraints of an emergency event, such as a natural disaster, hazardous zoonotic disease outbreak, terrorist activity, or radiological incident. These are extraordinary circumstances, when rapid response and the need to prevent further devastation may impose severe constraints that limit available options.

Drafted by the AVMA Panel on Depopulation and its working groups, the guidelines reflect the AVMA's concern for the ethical treatment of animals at all stages of life and in all situations. To ensure the best possible animal welfare, the guidelines support advanced planning for possible emergency situations and provide guidance for making decisions during an emergency.

The Panel on Depopulation was funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the resulting AVMA Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals were released in April 2019. To best understand how to use the guidelines, we encourage you to watch this one-hour webinar on AVMA Axon.

View the AVMA Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals: 2019 (PDF)

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Watch the webinar: AVMA's Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals

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