Humanely ending the lives of animals is one of the most difficult tasks for any veterinarian. During times of crisis or major catastrophe, emergency situations sometimes arise that prompt a decision to depopulate a whole group of animals. In the past when this has happened, veterinarians have had no formal guidance available to help implement these orders humanely.
That is no longer the case. The first-ever AVMA Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals are now available to help veterinarians support animal welfare in situations where the difficult decision to depopulate has been made. This new AVMA policy is an important tool to help veterinarians make humane decisions in the most dire situations. Because emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time, this is vital guidance for veterinarians in every field of practice – from shelter medicine to agriculture, companion-animal practice, zoos, public health, and beyond.