Member comment sought on draft guidelines for depopulation

Commenting Period Open Make Your Voice HeardA draft version of the first-ever AVMA Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals is now available for review and comment by all AVMA members.

Once finalized, the guidelines will represent the first detailed guidance the AVMA has provided relating to depopulation, which refers to the large-scale rapid destruction of multiple animals in response to an emergency event such as a natural disaster, hazardous zoonotic or foreign animal disease outbreak, terrorist activity, or radiological incident. Comments on the draft guidelines are due no later than April 16.

The guidelines address depopulation starting from the point at which 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 event.

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.

All AVMA members are invited to review and comment on the draft AVMA Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals, which include sections relating to companion animals, laboratory animals, bovines, swine, small ruminants, poultry, equids, aquatics, and captive and free-ranging wildlife.

The draft guidelines represent the third product in the AVMA’s Humane Endings series, which addresses the humane treatment of all animals killed for a range of purposes, including the depopulation of animals during an emergency and the slaughter of animals raised for food. The draft guidelines were developed by a group of more than 50 volunteers which included 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 the American Animal Hospital Association among others. The U.S. Department of Agriculture supported the development of the guidelines financially and, provided an advisor to the Panel along with the National Institute for Health.

The Humane Endings series also includes the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, which were most recently revised in 2013, and the AVMA Guidelines for the Humane Slaughter of Animals (released in 2016).

21 thoughts on “Member comment sought on draft guidelines for depopulation

  1. I think that this AVMA group had better open a real dialog with animal owners because a lot of us simply don’t trust the AVMA because of known ties with the HSUS and PETA.

  2. If this only applies to animals that are suffering, then why are leading vets within the CDC advising states to push for depopulation of entire colonies of rats that are testing negative? Why is the veterinary community allowing healthy, negative pets to be put to sleep?

  3. During the two Exotic Newcastle disease outbreaks in California, teams of workers under USDA direction went forth, knocked on doors, took people’s pet parrots and other birds out of their houses and out of their aviaires and killed them in front of the owners. The USDA issued a mandate that every living bird within xxx radius of the disease outbreak was to be destroyed. NO TESTING was done of these INDOOR birds who had absolutely no means of contracting the poultry disease from commercial chicken flocks miles away! That did not matter. The mandate was in place and thousands of healthy pet and aviary birds were destroyed! This kind of scenario cold be repeated for ANY species where there is a severe disease outbreak. This situation should be a warning as to how a regulation designed to protect the health of a species can be misused and cause unnecessary death and destruction.

    IF the AVMA creates any kind of depopulation document, it SHOULD INCLUDE a requirement that private owners birds or animals be TESTED for the threatening disease PRIOR to euthanizing them.

    There should be a distinction made between a flock of chickens in a poultry facility versus pet birds in a home, or a pack of wild dogs considered to be rabid, vesus a pet dog in a back yard. WITHOUT these kinds of distinctions, there can be some terrible results which I am sure the AVMA would not wish to happen.

  4. This proposal is exactly what PeTA and HSUS are looking for to promote their goals of no more breeding of any domestic animal. I attended an animal rights workshop last year in which the topic of how to get and use an official government or association’s ruling on depopulation of animals in an emergency enacted at the federal level. They see this step as necessary in order to enable the removal of all domestic species. These groups believe that all domestic species are human manufactured animals and thus are slaves to our whims and abuse. They in no way see our relationship with domestic animals as necessary or symbiotic thus necessary for the survival of all domestic and human species. If this policy is going to be written it clearly needs to state the necessity for breeding and keeping all domestic animals for our future health and welfare otherwise they have plans already for how to subvert this type of ruling or guidelines to do away with all domestic species. As written or talked about I cannot support it and will tell all I know to not support it until such statements are include that speak to the necessity of our survival is to maintain all domestic species.

  5. The use of the word, “depopulation” is misleading at best, and open to to interpretation by animal rights activists as a guideline to justify their anti-animal ownership agenda. I’ve already witnessed the intrusion of the extremist animal rights agenda into vet school teachings. Sound science and research is put aside in the effort to decimate the pet population. The teaching of reproductive medicine for the pet population is ignored and Spay and Neuter has become the mandate for a host of ailments and ills for everything from aggression to allergies. Animals were suffering during the Katrina disaster, but one could make the assumption that their humane “de-population” would have been an easily defendable position based on your proposed guidelines, as opposed to the alternative to allow appropriate rescue groups the chance to save animals and reunite owners. The AVMF needs to turn their focus on a defense of this intrusion of the animal rights agenda and carefully choose their words and phrases to clarify their position. The guidelines as proposed do not make that clarification.

  6. So death is the first solution for animals when things go wrong in the world? You will euthanize animals because of “terrorist activity”?? What?? I will check with my veterinarians, and if they belong to this organization and subscribe to this lunacy, I will take my animals elsewhere.

    • Dana, we’ve updated the blog post to clarify. The depopulation guidelines are intended to address severe situations where the animals must be killed quickly to prevent suffering – for example, when there’s an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza that can’t be treated, and the animals will suffer horribly from the disease if nothing is done. The purpose behind these guidelines is to make sure that the animals are treated as humanely as possible during that time leading up to their death. I hope that helps you better understand the intent.

      • As written, PeTA and HSUS will use this to justify killing healthy pets… which is what they have been doing, PeTA as their MO and HSUS after natural disasters for propaganda instead of finding the pets owners. HSUS and ASPCA are now training, or acting as, animal control officers and confiscating animals prior to any court hearings. They are stealing these animals based upon unsubstantiated and alleged claims of “abuse”… holding them for ransom in their ill-equipped shelters and killing many after they have been exposed to diseases in their “shelters”. Let’s try not to make it any easier for these Animal Rights fanatics!

  7. The only ones who have depopulated doges was in 1945 in Germany when Hitler’s regeime order all dogs killed, no reason was given…..and again in England during WWII, that the war may be too stressful for pets.

    It is a wonder that dogs and cats are what the vets depend on for a living and now they want them euthanized?

    Was anyone yet told the vets who take care of our dogs that the animal rights movement is the only phisophical movement in history and don’t forget the tried in the Socialist Fabian Society in the UK to bring all the ancient philosophy back to life for better treatment of animals. We now have vegan animal rights going into private business to yell and scream at customers, and otherwise disrupting other businesses. AVMA at some point had an oath to take care of dogs, cats and other animals not to persecute the people who own them.
    A buddy took a rather large dog to the vet in our town and was yelled at because it was a large dog…..”Why do you have such a large dog?” She then said “because that is what I wanted and quickly took herself and her dog out of the establishment. Other vets in our town have had to close down due to the lack of business they could generate, in mostly if you choose to breed your dog, you may not agree with a few month old dog or cat neutered before all they get all their bone growth and the growth plates close.

    I am sure that over 50 percent of todays vets have leanings for the vegan animal rights philosophical movement. How well do we have to take care of our animals before it will ever be good enough!

    • We’ve updated the blog post to clarify, and I hope that helps. The depopulation guidelines are intended to address severe situations where the animals must be killed quickly to prevent suffering – for example, when there’s an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza that can’t be treated, and the animals will suffer horribly from the disease if nothing is done.

      The veterinary profession has a special responsibility to animals during the final stages of their life. For many people, their first thought when it comes to an animal’s end of life is the care offered to a beloved companion animal after a serious injury of diagnosis of a terminal condition. Veterinarians have many options for palliative care and euthanasia of companion animals to help the owner make compassionate choices and offer animals the best quality of life possible and, where appropriate, a peaceful death. But the veterinary obligation also extends to the humane treatment of all animals killed for a range of purposes, including the depopulation of animals during an emergency and the slaughter of animals raised for food.The purpose behind these guidelines is to make sure that the animals are treated as humanely as possible during that time leading up to their death. I hope that helps you better understand the intent.

      • The veterinary profession has a special responsibility to the OWNERS of the animals, and it would appear that it has followed the fashion of abusing its customer base. You need to treat the OWNERS humanely first.

  8. HSUS/ASPCA/PeTA speaking through the AVMA’s mouth?…

    I can understand that “depopulation” might be necessary in extreme situations such as euthanizing birds that have been exposed to avian flu, at a specific free-range farm, to protect our food supply…but this sounds like you’re talking about rounding up the entire species!

    • Liz, what you described is exactly what this document is meant to address – extreme situations, where the animals’ risk of suffering is high if nothing is done. The avian flu example you gave is a perfect example – highly pathogenic avian influenza causes suffering if the birds are simply left to die due to the disease, and the more humane thing to do is to kill the birds before they suffer from the disease. We’ve updated the blog post to clarify, I hope that helps make it more clear.

      • The Animal Rights fanatics are killing animals “to prevent further (unsubstantiated) abuse”… They consider animal ownership in general as “abuse”… as “slavery”.

        I fear this document will be utilized by these organizations to justify their actions unless such actions are excluded and the reasoning is better defined.

  9. So the AVMA has finally drank the Kool Aid. This is exactly the goal of HSUS and PETA. They may actually have plans to create and exaggerate an “Emergency” to initiate such a situation. First: animals do give many people cause to live. We are a nuturing animal by nature. Removal of that cause is also creating a danger to people, which is in alignment with HSUS and PETA goals. They hate us as well as our companionship and use of animals. Second: In the direst of consequences, our pets can sustain us by becoming food. That is the most dire of all situations.. A starving population is most controllable, and the people of HSUS and PETA know this. Domination is their final goal. And all these veterinarians, with their leftist education have lost the ability to think things through, as they look only at the monetary rewards. This is the age of stupidity.

    • John, these guidelines are meant to be used only after the appropriate procedures have been done and the decision has been made to depopulate. We’re talking about situations where the animals will suffer if nothing is done – for example, when there are outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza that can’t be treated, but the animals will suffer if they are just left to die from the disease and they can’t be put into the food chain because of the disease risk to humans. In situations like that, it’s our responsibility to minimize animal suffering by killing the animals quickly and as humanely as possible.

      These are never good situations for anyone, and the depopulation decision is never made lightly. But it’s part of our responsibility to ensure humane care of animals, up to and including their death.

  10. if they are going to just put animals down in an emergency I fear many people will stay put and risk it rather than allowing some organization to ‘dispose’ of their animals instead of sheltering them to be reclaimed later. this is a dream come true for peta and they are probably already ordering barrels of their ‘blue juice’ and boxes of needles while the soulless leader is foaming at the mouth in anticipation of killing as many pets as they can.

    • We’ve updated the post to clarify, and I hope that helps. These guidelines don’t apply to the ‘average’ emergency situation, they apply to situations where there’s a crisis in which the animals will suffer if nothing is done. A great example is an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, which causes a lot of suffering before it kills the birds. If we do nothing, they suffer; but if we depopulate the barn as humanely as possible, we’re doing the best we can for the birds and preventing their suffering. The decision to depopulate is not made lightly.

      The veterinary profession has a special responsibility to animals during the final stages of their life. For many people, their first thought when it comes to an animal’s end of life is the care offered to a beloved companion animal after a serious injury of diagnosis of a terminal condition. Veterinarians have many options for palliative care and euthanasia of companion animals to help the owner make compassionate choices and offer animals the best quality of life possible and, where appropriate, a peaceful death. But the veterinary obligation also extends to the humane treatment of all animals killed for a range of purposes, including the depopulation of animals during an emergency and the slaughter of raised for food.The purpose behind these guidelines is to make sure that the animals are treated as humanely as possible during that time leading up to their death. I hope that helps you better understand the intent.

    • We’ve updated the post, and I hope that makes it more clear. We’re not talking about eliminating an entire species or type of animal, as it may have appeared to you. We’re talking about emergency situations where animals would suffer if nothing is done. For example, when there are outbreaks of avian influenza, the affected poultry barns have to be depopulated because the birds can’t enter the food supply and just letting them die from the disease would cause suffering. So we depopulate the barn, meaning that we kill the birds as humanely as possible to minimize their suffering. These guidelines are meant to protect the animals by providing guidance on how depopulation can be performed as humanely as possible, given the circumstances at hand.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>