Carbon dioxide system for on-farm euthanasia of pigs in small groups

Mark Rice, BS; Craig Baird, BS; Larry Stikeleather, PhD, PE; W. E. Morgan Morrow, BVSc, MS, PhD; Robert Meyer, DVM, Diplomate ACVAA

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Certain swine-farm operations require the regular euthanizing of multiple pigs on almost a daily basis. These animals may be too large for the small-scale methods of euthanasia used for nursing pigs and therefore may require the use of individual mechanical methods approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), such as gunshot and captive bolt. These methods may be unpleasant for workers and pose additional handling and carcass-disposal challenges. Considerable research has been done using the AVMA-recommended carbon dioxide (CO2) method for mass depopulation of swine in the case of an exigent situation. This paper details a method for adapting that CO2 methodology for euthanizing small groups of pigs. The system does not require direct worker contact with individual animals or manual handling of carcasses. The concept involves use of a standard high-pressure CO2 cylinder and a small euthanasia chamber, which can be a small dump-type trailer to allow easy transport to a disposal site. A detailed description of the CO2 application system and method is provided so that producers can construct a suitable system from readily available low-cost components.

Keywords: euthanasia, carbon dioxide, AVMA, on-farm

RIS citationCite as: Rice M, Baird C, Stikeleather L, et al. Carbon dioxide system for on-farm euthanasia of pigs in small groups. J Swine Health Prod 2014;22(5):248-254.

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