2013 Edition of the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals Published

Good news! The long-awaited 2013 edition of the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals has been published and it, together with an Executive Summary, can be accessed as a .pdf on the AVMA website. An e-reader-friendly version will be available within a matter of days, and a print-on-demand book is also in the works for release at a later date.

Originally published in 1963, celebrating its 50th anniversary (!), and updated at least once every ten years, the document is designed for use by veterinarians who carry out or oversee the euthanasia of animals. More than three years of intense work and deliberation by more than 60 individuals—including veterinarians, animal scientists, animal behaviorists, physiologists, psychologists and an animal ethicist—resulted in the commentary and recommendations contained in the 2013 edition.

In addition to expanded information on species-specific euthanasia methods, the latest edition of the Guidelines includes:

  • Euthanasia methods for invertebrates and other lower-order species;
  • Advice on humane handling of animals before and during euthanasia;
  • Information on collection of animals for scientific investigations, handling injured wild animals, and removal of animals causing property damage or threatening human safety;
  • Additional  information about confirmation of death and disposal of animal remains; and
  • Flowcharts, illustrations, tables and appendices that clarify recommendations.

The AVMA is indebted to our colleagues identified on the title page of the Guidelines whose expertise and commitment as members of the Panel and its Working Groups resulted in the production of this work. If you know one of these individuals, please remember to thank them for their efforts!

Questions or comments about the new edition of the Guidelines and/or the Panel on Euthanasia may be directed to Dr. Gail Golab (ggolab@avma.org) or Dr. Emily Patterson-Kane (ekane@avma.org) in the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Division.

69 thoughts on “2013 Edition of the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals Published

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  2. gassing any animal is horrendous ANY ONE THAT CAN STAND AND WATCH THIS MUST BE INHUMAN

  3. They should be a list of all vet’s that support the gas chamber, in fact we demand THE LIST in all states, and we”ll decide who deserve our business

  4. The difference-making will come from direct (ardent intellectual) pressure upon these voting veterinarians. We cannot just expect these people that are supposedly considerate of the animals they’re treating to act upon their own internal moral code, hoping it mirrors ours.

    While we all have each other here (and on so many animal advocacy sites and outlets as well), let’s not forget that there are so many others out there that do not care about animals (some don’t care about their own children or even themselves).

    Case in point, I have debated for the rights of the poor dogs killed by Michael Vick’s dog-fighting ring on popular sports sites (ESPN, etc.) and have witnessed the most horrific comments ever. Those that adore the sports athlete (especially within the minority community) regard Vick, and not the dogs, as the true victim. They feel he’s paid his dues (actually he plead to a lessor gambling charge and never served time for the tortured dogs) and that everyone should pretend it never happened or, that it never mattered in the first place. That’s the type of monsters we have out there. (Look at the news cases where even getting charges to stick on those committing heinous acts against animals is a real challenge,)

    Mind you, in the Vick case (common with these rings) the dogs were drown, electrocuted, beaten, stabbed and shot to death. He even stole his kid’s family dogs to throw into the pits to be shredded by the fighting dogs just to entertain his friends. So, in the minds of many, gassing is seen as a gentle, forgiving way to kill. Truth is, the answer is not just in better ways of euthanasia, but also in finding ways to curb the need for such things in the eyes that have the power. It can only happen by our concentrated, collective efforts and the direct pressure we can apply to those that are too willing to use death as their method.

  5. AVMA- Tainted Ethics!
    You have made your successful careers and high standard of living on the backs of ANIMALS, and this is your ethics. Only you as vets can really understand such abhorrent killings of beings, yes beings -not products.
    For VETS to demonstrate such profound hatred for life- animal life in this case, should beg the question, what does the great USA really stand for? The AVMA has to be the most cruel inhumane body of people who obviously enjoys inflicting the most horrific death to defenceless innocent beings. Who would be next? I hope that the people of the USA condemn this guidelines for it is and change the people involved with the AVMA. All methods of killing healthy animals is sickening but what you are proposing here is the most grotesque and heinous act. I wonder how some communities in the USA views this crime or do people have such short memories? Please remember the service men and women who lost their lives to save you from this very abhorrent end not so long ago! Or perhaps it doesn’t matter because these are lower beings? What are you?


      • Is there anybody on here who has not seen the lines of Jews waiting to be forced into the gas chambers by the Nazis? Have you ever said to yourself, there but by the grace of God go I? The first time I saw a clip of these poor skin and bones people waiting to be anihillated, I cried from the sadness I felt inside. This is no different than when the Nazis killed all these people…..they had no choice just like these animals have no choice. How can anybody be so black-hearted as to put healthy animals in gas chambers without feeling the least bit of guilt. These are God’s creatures given to us for companionship, unconditional love and happiness. All they want is a family who loves them, food, shelter and health care. Any person who can carry out such egregious acts are no less than evil demons who should experience the gas chambers themselves.

        • Excuses-me to write in french mais I dont know enough english : oui je me souviens toujours et quand j’entends parler de cette horreur pour les animaux, je ne peux supporter. Il en est également ainsi pour les transports d’animaux, je me souviens des trains ………….. je n’assmile pas les animaux aux humains, je n’y vois que des êtres vivants qu’aucun humain n’a jamais créé, il clone certes, mais il ne crée pas et pourtant il s’arroge le droit de détruire. Son arrogance n’a pas de limite …… seule la mort a ce pouvoir.

  6. Gas Chambers 14 March 2013

    Shame on the USA! The USA is one of the last few countries I expect to adopt the very evil they fought against “the abhorrent gas chamber”! How could respectable dignified humans sink so low in this century? There is nothing more vile, repulsive, inhumane etc than a “gas chamber” that signifies despicable hatred for life! How can the decent people of this free country got it so wrong when these elected people who hates animals so much that this is where they believe abused animals should meet their end after society have brutalised, tormented and failed them in every way. What about the evil puppy mills operators who overpopulate the country by overbreeding in their? filthy puppy mills. Perhaps they may enjoy watching these animals suffocating to death so they can go back to their sickening backyards and forced rape more animals with their sickening instruments of torture and breed more to replace the animals which the politicians just finished gassi

    • This world of so called humans have gone to “pot”, literally, it’s got to be people on drugs that would do this to animals, torture/kill them….& the so called politicans too……GET OFF YOUR BUTTS PEOPLE & LET’S STOP THIS TREATMENT….next in line just might be us…..

    • Now let’s be careful with the understandable emotion some commenting here have, that you’re not blaming whole countries – like the USA as a whole – with references of what the country (as if itself was a single living thing with a single choice) has or has not learned from its liberation of those subjected to gassing chambers, etc.

      I live here in the USA and there are many millions here that do that oppose what we’re seeing here. America has some of the strongest and most active animal rights advocacy groups anywhere in the world. We are just as bothered by this as you are. We like it not one bit more than you do.

      So to cast your anger at the whole country is unfair and unruly. Just because something counter our interests passes in the USA should not suggest that the USA as a whole should be tainted by it. That’s a too common trend with people around the world – they vent all things they’re opposed to in the USA onto all Americans.

      We are all, separate and individualized people just like you are. I can assure you, there are things happening in your country counter to the interests of animals, too. Should we cast a message of chastise to your whole country for it? Certainly not. So let’s be evenhanded and reasonable. We’re all in this together, worldwide, as caring people with caring hearts.

      • Agreed! Let’s not forget the role of social media helping to uncover and spreading the word. There is nowhere to hid anymore when crimes are committed against humanity. And this includes atrocities done to our animal friends…

  7. Clearly the “deciders” are more concerned about cost than compassion. So…..the next time I bring my companions to the vet, I’ll ask the vet what she thinks of gassing as a method of euthanasia. If I don’t like her reply I’ll whip out my Ipad and watch a gassing video with her then ask her the question again. If her answer doesn’t improve, I’ll change vets. If their inhumanity costs them- they will quickly change their tune. I invite all people who respect animal life to do the same. Take your business away from the vets who approve of gassing. People change their ways if their present thinking costs them. Anyone out there with me on this?

  8. I was born in Auschwitz. I’m sure many of you have heard about Nazis’ concentration camps, if not – please google it.

    Gassing was the way how Nazis killed millions of people. I repeat – MILLIONS of people.

    This the most inhumane and barbarous way of killing you can imagine…

  9. WHAT species is deceiding the fate of GOD’s animals…..not human vets…..disgraceful, but their judgement day will come & the JUDGE will know what they do/did!!!

  10. Unbelievable. They actually refer to this as the Best and most humane pratice and what they do they take into consideration pain, stress and fear of the animal? Are they serious? It is more humane to actually shot an animal in the head than to gas them. I say every one of these idiots need to be made to witness what their decisions produce. Just like the foolish towns people in germany had to tour the concentration camps and the mountains of bodies. These people need to watch, hear and smell a gassing and take a look at these animals as they are put through this. Remember it is not Vets that use this method it is supposed shelters that employ cheap labor and cruel attendents.

  11. I am appalled that these people call themselves Vets or attribute anything close to compassion to themselves and pat themselves on the back for this decision. It is disgusting and when you all leave this earth your time will come. Lets hope that its not in a gas chamber!! Shame on all of you. I have lost faith in the very people that are suppose to be concerned for animals not the most expedient way to dispose of them. Gassing is merely a convenience not a solution. I smell a kickback here and this is not the end of this debate. We will just yell louder until this barbaric practice is stopped. How is it any different then Mexico electrocuting animals?

  12. This is totally disgusting. The AVMA organization, it’s members, and the people who worked on these so called updates should be ashamed of themselves. To reiterate what someone earlier said – you sold your souls and someday yo are going to need them. Absolutely unbelievable that you could think that continuing to allow gassing of animals is ok. You are pathetic.

  13. The gassing of animals is one of the cruelest forms of euthanasia.How can the AVMA condone its use if it claims to be a humane organization? Who is paying off the AVMA to keep this barbaric practice in place? We would think that after publishing guidelines for 50 years the AVMA would have made some progress in outlawing this brutality.

  14. There is so much horror in the world that we live in, it breaks my heart to think that there are individuals who could have put an end to one of them and chose to allow it to continue. I truly don’t understand and to think that some of them are veterinarians. I wouldn’t want them taking care of my pack. The comment about “if you know one of them, thank them”, REALLY? I’ll just keep praying for all of the furbabies needing love and a home and all the stupid people that are put in charge of their welfare.

  15. The gassing of animals is barbarity at its worst! Every other nation in the world condemned Germany’s gassing of humans in WWII. What makes you think it’s okay to use on animals? Do they not feel fear? Do they not feel pain?
    Not every animal squeezed into the chamber dies – some are put in a second time – and those that do die, die in agony. Every one of you should be made to take part in a gassing euthanization! Then you might begin to realize what you have given your approval to.

  16. what is this? is this Nazi Germany for the 21st century?

    absolutely disgraceful! how can people find it in their hearts to do this. no compassion,

    the innocence and trust of these dogs betrayed.

    also the fault lies with the original owners who just didnt care!!

  17. Gassing any animal is barbaric and cruel. I don’t understand how you came to the conclusion that this is humane. I am against Capital Punishment even for humans who have committed horrible crimes: these dogs have committed no crime.

  18. Like others here, I’m appalled to learn that gassing is still considered an “acceptable” method of euthanasia. It is TORTURE, it is CRUEL, and it should NEVER be used.

  19. Are they stupid, most these animals be gassed like so many people during WO II?
    The owners of the dogs who gets pups should be punished for their behaviour, they don’t take their responsability to let the the dogs be sterilised..The dogs owners must pay fot their behaviour.
    These innocent pups will be killed in an cruel way, why? Why can these pups not be helped, to another home?I
    I live in the Netherland, here an animal will be put asleep with two injections. The first one to but himasleep, the second one to let him die. And only the animals who are given up, who will not be well again. In the shelters in the Netherlands they will not kill animals, and never by gas.
    Maybe the people who are gassing these pups most feel themselves how it feels.

  20. FIrst of all, you shouldn’t be so proud as to update something every 10 years. The world has changed CONSIDERABLY in the last ten years. Even protocols that existed three years ago, when you started this “intense deliberation” are now questionable. What you apparently HAVEN’T kept up with is the publics tolerance for barbaric behavior and that’s what gas chambers are. For animals put into gas chambers it isn’t euthanization, it’s killing plain and simple. DId you learn NOTHING from your history lessons about the Nazi’s? If it is repugnant to do to one species of animals then it “should” be repugnant on ALL levels.
    While I love most vets and the work they do this “Arm” of the AVMA is lacking basic empathy. Would you do this to your animals? If so then you need to move along, find another job because you’re on the wrong bus. YOU are part of the problem, not part of the solution. There is a No Kill movement alive and well in this country but apparently while you’ve spent the last three years in intense deliberations (BTW, how many meetings did you really have? More than a few? The kinds of conclusions you’ve reached here could have been agreed upon in a couple of weeks, why 3 years? You SERIOUSLY need to come into the 21st century) you’ve not stuck you’re heads up into the light to see that.
    Yes, there are times that euthanasia is necessary. But keep this in mind – if you wouldn’t do it to your parent, child or best friend, why on EARTH would you subject a creature whose trust and entire life is in your hands? I shudder to think that anyone involved with this document would EVER have anything to do with ANY decision I would ever make about my family or animals. Good luck in the future, you’ve traded in your souls and someday you’re going to need them.

  21. I am appalled that the veterinary organization that the majority of our doctors follow could still endorse the cruelty of gassing animals. I had hoped, especially after three years and the progressive mental change in society against animal cruelty, that no “reputable” organization would ever lend its endorsement of this horror. Shame on you and all of the members who created and sanctified the barbarity towards mammals and our beloved fellow creatures.

  22. We treat our Death Row Inmates better than we do animals, WHAT is WRONG with people?
    We even give the inmates a choice of death that they want! This Is F**ked UP!
    What are we teaching the world?

  23. Good news? And Hard work? Not acceptable Euthanasia TORTURE by GASSING.
    What members of this organisation can accept this?
    All puppy mills and irresponsible pet owners have created this, but even so animal lives should not end like this.
    There are many links on the internett that shows what gassing is. Under is 1 of them.

  24. It seems like we should have come farther in 50 years than these guidelines. This to me is a backwards step for society! We should be moving FORWARD and take compassion upon all living beings! Everybody must work to change this and it starts with each individual. Come on we can do this!

  25. This is awful. I can’t believe vets would still support this. These poor animals. Seems EVERYONE has respect for human life and none for animals. Soo sad. Humans are gonna destroy this planet….soon

  26. Archaic & barbaric. Can’t fathom a veterinary association would still endorse. Any vets out there that would care to comment???

    • Remember, vets, just like medical doctors for humans, have large numbers of them that have long since abandoned their oath of doing no harm and being people of deep compassion. Many get into this practice for the money alone.

      They look at the scale of animals out there and the millions that pet owners are spending on them, and they look to this as a lucrative field to make comfortable income. Thus one should not conclude that these vets necessarily are animal lovers that actually truly care about these animals.

      Some of the coldest, most emotionally immune to animal suffering people I have ever known worked in animal hospitals, veterinarian offices and shelters, including so called “humane society” shelters (some that won’t even pay their help and thus have only volunteers). Humans and their financial interests seek opportunities that fit their interests – not always those of the animals they supposedly service. Some vets will put animals down for the least of reasons while carrying on conversations with others about their favorite sporting team, etc., as they do it.

      I have dropped vets for this type of indifference. I choose them carefully now. Considering what we’re seeing here, there is good cause to do so.

      • Then we need to tell politicans & those who are in these positions, to check into these organiztions & find out WHERE the money is going…..vets, humane societies, peta, shelters……then WE as a voice can do something to help rid this greedy front & protect the animals. I am so tired of all this abuse that goes on & NOBODY cares….only cares enough to Talk….but action speak louder than words…..I realize there are those who do care & try to do what they can, but this problem is becoming an epidemic! We need to protect GOD’s sweet animals, HE did not put them here for us humans to have fun killing, torturing them.

      • Yes, I hear you…..unfortunately the mighty dollar still rules in many cases & replaces the most basic decencies. Caring & compassion for those who cannot speak for themselves. It is sometimes a sad, sad world we live in. Fortunately most people (not all though) I come across have a huge love for our 4 footed friends!

  27. Not acceptable. I agree with the many other comments….how could people who profess to love and want to care for animals still endorse gassing as acceptable. It is not! This goes against humane behavior. Gassing is terrifying and cruel for the animals. It must be stopped.

  28. This is totally unacceptable, how can gassing animals not be banned as it is the most atrocious and cruel way to kill an animal. I had hopes that the United States would show some kindness and get rid of those horrible chambers and be a leader in showing everyone that cruelty is not to be tolerated, but I guess from this we can plainly see the US still believes in animal cruelty and torture, sad day. You should be ashamed of this guideline you passed.

  29. It is with deep regret that I am part of the Human Race that is allowing this to still take place. As stated many times above this is 2013 and should not be allowed. The so called Humane Shelters are not very humane that still gas.

  30. Are you kidding me? How could an association make the “guidelines” acceptable? These are mammals that have a CNS, that have feeling and can feel everything. How would you like to be gassed? Not being able to breath for up to 30 minutes, gasping and choking for every last breath!!! This is inhumane and sooooo barbaric. It is a disgrace that this “so called” committee can even sleep at night. I am disgusted with this decision. All that I have to say is that Karma does exist. Karma may not happen today, tomorrow, or even next year, but it has it’s ways! I’m going to go and throw-up now!

    • This is the same profession that, perform experiments in well known and respected university’s. Do your own research into practices at our respected veterinary colleges, and we send our kids and pay tuition for in humane treatment to the animals!!! The individuals that serve on boards such as this one, and are made up of individuals that teach in the university’s. We as parents should investigate research protocols before making a decision to send our daughter or son to ANY UNIVERSITY!!

  31. Is this for real?? Are you sure there was an animal ethicist in your so called team? Three years of hard work?? We don’t see any of that! Where is the hard work in this? It’s unbelievable gassing is still considered an accepted practice! Your credibility as a serious “aassociation” is below zero!

  32. This barbarous! What kind of demons. Gassing is OK? How? In what world do you live. You need a wakeup call after a terrifying nightmare which showcases your lack of normalcy. You are pathalogically antilife and pro making other earthly souls suffer unbearably at the last. As you reap some hall you sow.

  33. It’s always sad when an animal has to be put down, but the very least we can give them at the end is kind words and soothing strokes. To be gassed in a chamber is beyond awful. It isn’t even done to the worst criminals, so why is it legal to do it to innocent animals? Coming from Australia I was horrified to see that the USA still allows this in 2013.

  34. Je suis épouvantée par le comportement des êtres humains à l’égard des animaux. Ils n’ont rien appris de la barbarie pratiquée dans l’histoire. Aucune mémoire, aucune bonté.

  35. tutta l’umanità, nella sua interezza, fa schifo: dall’america, alla cina, all’europa, ecc……sono talmente nauseata da credere solo ed esclusivamente agli animali, TUTTI!!!

  36. Why do we, as so called decent compassionate human beings feel that the cruel gassing of animals is acceptable?? There are more humane ways of euthanasia that could be used. Wake up people. If you have a heart & soul show some mercy & compassion for these innocent animals. They don’t ask to be born into a world where they are not wanted. Do we have to be cruel to them too???

  37. Looks like USA still live in the dark ages. Can’t believe it. No respect for or kindness towards out furry friends. This Aussie is horrified .

      • You might not eat your dogs and cats, but your pets do. They collect the dead animals from the shelters and use them in dog food. It’s disgusting. After reading the articles on how dog food is made I am now paying out the nose for a six ingredient dog food for my 3 dogs. I was horrified to find out what meat-by-product and fillers are allowed. Did you know that there is an acceptable amount of sawdust that is allowed in your dogs food? But the part that made me puke in my mouth was the euthanized dogs and cats being used in pet food.

    • Now, again, let’s not place this upon the entire country of the USA. There are millions here that don’t like this anymore than you do. Let’s not be unfair and unruly. Just because something like this passes in the USA should not suggest that the USA as a whole should be tainted by it. That’s a too common trend with people around the world – they vent all things they’re opposed to in the USA onto all Americans.

      We are all, separate and individualized people just like you are. I can assure you, there are things happening in your country counter to the interests of animals, too.

      Have you heard about the Blacktown Pound NSW Australia matter? Go to “Causes” and look it up. I’ll offer you a portion of a top contributor’s words referring to your country: “This sickening practice is happening all over this country at pounds, shelters, by breeders and more! This is just the tip of the iceberg of Australia’s dark hidden practices. So if you think that our animal welfare here is caring, humane and dignified as some would want you to believe, then think again. The defensive reaction by those involve in animal welfare may give a good indication as to what is hidden from the public. CCTV’s are not allowed in some places where animal cruelty is so rampant and sickening. Animal cruelty in this country is a national disgrace (we know its the same worldwide) but we here are specialists at sugar coating our despicable cruelty to animals.”

      So, should we chastise Australia as a whole for it? Certainly not. So let’s be evenhanded and reasonable. We’re all in this together, worldwide, as caring people with caring hearts.

      • YES! I’ve been engaged in stopping animal cruelty in OZ as well. We have to make this a global issue not just one country or anothers..

  38. Totally unbelievable that this should even be considered in this day and age. From the UK I was horrified to even discover that such a barbaric practice was still carried out in the USA. Catch up with the rest of the civilized veterinary world – this is torture and cruelty adding to the very sorry state and hugely unacceptable levels of killing of shelter animals every single day.

    • America has more animal activists than many countries do combined. Compassion runs deep here, even if it is not shared by all. In some countries, animals have far less rights. Now, your comment, “From the UK I was horrified to even discover that such a barbaric practice was still carried out in the USA. Catch up with the rest of the civilized veterinary world,” may be premature and not necessarily accurate.

      Are you certain that these practices don’t happen in the UK? That’s not what the RSPA says for their slaughtered pigs and poultry. It openly states that they currently gas animals. And as far as dogs and cats, many whom work in shelters and large veterinary offices, will tell you that they have witnessed gassing (when they’re “rushed”), even if it’s largely kept under-wraps. I do know that the UK allows for “religious killing” (Muslims, etc.) where they slit the throats of animals and let them bleed to death. However, If the UK is the friendliest country towards animals, then that’s great; we should all desire to have such laws.

      But in that veterinary groups are doing this in an organized fashion here in the USA displeases everyone; including Americans. I would certainly agree that it needs to be stopped and we’re all trying to make a difference. Posting our rants here will not help. We need to channel this towards those that are doing it and towards those that have the power to stop it.

  39. You know it’s bad enough to have to read and see video’s of stinking China’s inhumane torture and deaths of our beautiful animals, but, does it also have to happen here in our good old USA too. Come on, do any of you high-class authoritive, insensitive, scholars have any kind or compassion down deep in your hearts, or even own a dog or cat? May the Good Lord shoot an arrow wake-up call in your dreams and be guilted into changing things…Just do it! America……

  40. Gas Chamber – Ausschwitz!
    Where is the compassion and empathy? This is UNACCEPTABLE. If we “must” kill thousands of innocent animals can we at least do so with compassion and humanly?

  41. I cannot fathom, how in this day and time, with medications to administer to animals to humanely, if there is such a thing, cause them death, you supposedly highly educated people have professed that gassing animals is acceptable?
    Did you learn anything in school?
    Were any of you raised by your parents to have compassion, empathy, and regard for all life?
    I am certainly excited that I was raised in a much more loving family, as obviously some of you are sorely lacking in the upbringing department.
    However, I am without words that I’m not so overly educated that I had my compassion, empathy and regard for life brain washed out of me by teachers who could care less about my personal self. Nor am I so overly educated that I can’t discern between a human death, (injectable meds) versus TORTURE by GASSING.
    Thanks be to GOD that gave me the parents and family I was born into.