Carbon dioxide for emergency on-farm euthanasia of swine

Robert E. Meyer, DVM, Diplomate American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists; W. E. Morgan Morrow, BVSc, MS, PhD

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In the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak in the United States, a rapid and humane method of on-farm swine euthanasia will be required. Given the extraordinary number of animals involved and the design of currently used swine confinement buildings, methods relying on the handling and restraint of individual animals will likely prove much too slow to stem the spread of disease. Humanely depopulating commercial swine production facilities may be accomplished by using enclosed dump bed trucks or trailers as on-farm carbon dioxide euthanasia chambers. We review the principles governing the use of carbon dioxide in enclosed spaces and show that adherence to the 2000 Report of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Panel on Euthanasia recommendation for carbon dioxide flow rate is appropriate for humane euthanasia within any enclosed volume or space. In addition, we demonstrate the feasibility of applying the AVMA guidelines for on-farm carbon dioxide euthanasia to groups of adult pigs.

Keywords: euthanasia, carbon dioxide, time constant, biosecurity

RIS citationCite as: Meyer RE, Morrow WEM. Carbon dioxide for emergency on-farm euthanasia of swine. J Swine Health Prod 2005;13(4):210-217.

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