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AVMA publishes guidelines for the depopulation of animals

The guidelines will support animal welfare in urgent circumstances

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The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has released Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals, a set of procedures and direction designed to help veterinarians make humane decisions in critical situations.

“Humanely ending the lives of animals is one of the most difficult, but necessary, tasks for veterinarians to oversee,” says chair of the AVMA panel on depopulation, Steven Leary, DVM, DACLAM. “During times of crisis or major catastrophe, depopulation of affected animals may sometimes be the most ethical and compassionate action.”

According to AVMA, depopulation balances the need to respond swiftly and avoid further devastation with the most humane method of death possible in response to pressing circumstances. The new guidelines are designed to ensure animal welfare is considered and achievable during an emergency, and provides procedures for the possibility of urgent situations.

The depopulation guidelines are part three of AVMA’s Humane Endings guidance. The others are the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals and the AVMA Guidelines for the Humane Slaughter of Animals.

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