The AVMA Guidelines for the Humane Slaughter of Animals provide guidance for veterinarians about how to minimize pain and distress in animals that have been designated for slaughter. The overriding commitment of these guidelines is to ensure that the treatment of animals during every stage of life is as humane and respectful as possible, and without unnecessary pain or distress.
The recommendations in the guidelines are intended to guide veterinarians, who must then use professional judgment in applying them to the various settings where animals are to be slaughtered. The AVMA is in the process of updating the guidelines.
What to expect in the new version
The draft revision expands the guidelines to encompass more species and made easier to use. It includes these updates, among others:
- The updated draft of the guidelines is organized by species.
- The introduction is updated with information about applicable federal statutes and regulations.
- Religious (non-stun) slaughter is incorporated within applicable species sections.
- Fur bearers have been added as a category of animals, which includes mink, fox, and rabbit.
- The following species sections have been expanded:
- Aquatics, to include invertebrates, decapods, and eel
- Bovids, to include water buffalo and American bison
- Equids, to include comment about donkey hides
- Poultry, to include ratites and more information on waterfowl
- Small ruminants, to include camelids
- All species sections include new references.
Review is informed by AVMA member input
The insights of all AVMA members are important when policies are reviewed. The AVMA sought and received member comment on the draft revision to the Guidelines for the Humane Slaughter of Animals. The commenting period closed on January 29, 2023.