These new AVMA guidelines are 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.
Depopulation balances the need to respond quickly and prevent further devastation with the most humane method of death possible in response to urgent circumstances, such as a natural disaster, hazardous disease outbreak, or terrorist incident. From past experience we know that doing nothing can result in greater animal suffering, and endanger animal caretakers and rescuers. Depopulation sometimes may be the most humane and compassionate response to a catastrophe.
The new AVMA guidelines aim to ensure that as much consideration is given to animal welfare as practicable within the constraints of an emergency. To ensure the best possible welfare for animals during crises, the guidelines support advance planning for possible emergency situations. This is essential to protect animal welfare and ensure the least possible animal suffering.
Tuesday April 2, 2019/ AVMA/ United States.