Comment Period on Updated 2011 Euthanasia Guidelines Extended

In response to AVMA members’ requests, the deadline for comments on the draft of the 2011 update to the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia has been extended to September 1st.

AVMA members may submit comments through the AVMA website. As part of the comment process, AVMA members may indicate whether they are commenting on behalf of themselves or on behalf of an organization. AVMA members commenting are asked to support their recommendations for revision with specific verbiage and supporting references from the scientific literature or verifiable data.

Because the draft is lengthy, it has been posted for comments in three parts, and all three parts are presently available for review online.

Part 1: Preface and General Considerations (posted on June 15)

Part 2: Methods of Euthansia (posted on July 1)

Part 3: Agents and Methods of Euthanasia By Species and Environment (posted on July 15)

Consistent with the long-held philosophy of the document (i.e., “While the Guidelines may be interpreted and understood by a broad segment of the general population a veterinarian should be consulted in their application.”), organizations or individual non-veterinarians wishing to submit comments on the document should identify an AVMA member veterinarian to assist them in conveying their thoughts.

This is the first in a series of three reports and its recommendations are limited to discerning which proposed killing methods meet the Panel’s criteria for euthanasia. Recommendations for depopulation and humane slaughter will be addressed in separate documents at a later date.

Thank you in advance for your careful review of the document. We look forward to receiving your input!

6 thoughts on “Comment Period on Updated 2011 Euthanasia Guidelines Extended

  1. Thank you for you concern and interest in the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia, Ms. Lollar. Following the close of the AVMA member comment period on September 1, content for the 2011 edition was approved by the AVMA Executive Board on September 27 and the document is currently undergoing copy editing in preparation for publication. That said, we will be happy to keep your information on file for consideration by the Panel for a subsequent edition of the Guidelines.

    @Amanda Lollar

  2. Dear AVMA,

    After 20 years of working with insectivorous bats we have developed numerous rehabilitation procedures for these specialized animals, and have found that traditional methods of euthanasia for small mammals are unacceptable for insectivorous bats. We have a position statement on the subject and would be extremely grateful if the AVMA would take our information into consideration. Here is a link to our position statement:


    Amanda Lollar
    Founder and President
    Bat World Sanctuary, Inc.

  3. Thank you for your inquiry Dr. Yetter. Recommendations regarding intracardiac injection in the draft update have not changed from previous iterations of the Guidelines (intracardiac injection in conscious animals was deemed problematic beginning with the first Panel’s report in 1963).

    Decisions regarding classification of methods in the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia are made by members of the Panel on Euthanasia and not by AVMA staff.

    Members of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia were appointed by the members of the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Committee at the direction of the AVMA Executive Board after an extensive review of letters of nomination/expressions of interest and their CVs. The members of the Panel are actually the Chairs of their Working Groups, and the members of those Working Groups were appointed using the same careful process.

    The members of the Working Groups (more than 70 people)comprise veterinarians, animal scientists, behaviorists, researchers and practitioners, and among them are multiple boarded specialists, including in the field of anesthesia.

    Members of the Working Groups are making their recommendations based on information in the peer-reviewed literature, verifiable practical data and expert experience.

    A reminder to AVMA members…the comment period closes September 1. Please take the opportunity to submit your comments via the AVMA main website (link provided above).

  4. I was just reading my issue of the ISVMA`s Epitome yesterday when I happened to read the article, “Comments Sought fo Draft Euthanasia Guidelines”. In this article it says that “reccomendations for revisions should include citations from the scientific literature or verifiable data”.

    I know that the AVMA guidelines currently state that the intracardiac injection of euthanasia solution in an animal shelter setting is unethical. For many years this is the way I euthanized the county animal shelter dogs, since this is the way we were taught to do it at school, and it was also the way my mentor performed euthanasia on animal shelter dogs and cats. After becoming aware of the AVMA`s guideline, of course, we switched to IV injections.

    In my opinion the stress of the prolonged restraint required to perform the IV injection produces far more anxiety than a quick IC injection.

    I would like to know what “citations from the scientific literature or verifiable data” the decision to remove IC injections of euthanasia solution from the list of acceptable euthanasia procedures was based on. Was there ever any research done to provide objective data on this in some way, or was the decision merely based on subjective evaluations of the people in the animal welfare department of the AVMA?

    I have talked to at least one board certified anesthesiologist at a state veterinary school who agrees with me that, when properly done, the IC injection of euthanasia solution is a humane, cost effective way of euthanizing animals in an animal shelter setting.

    Dr. Rodney Yetter

    Havana, Illinois