Depopulation of animals has a rather ominous sound to it. Why would we ever want to depopulate an area of animals? Aren’t we struggling with enough losses in wildlife numbers already? What would be the purpose of trying to increase the deaths of wildlife that are already under strain in many parts of the world?
Those are all great questions. Let’s begin by noting that no one wants to depopulate an area of wildlife unless those animals are deemed invasive, such as feral hogs, nutria, etc. But aside from invasive animals, depopulation often needs to occur when there are significant disease outbreaks. Depopulation on large scales are used to either eliminate the spread of the disease, or to significantly reduce the spread of that disease to buy time.
Depopulation of animals isn’t pretty nor is it sought after but from time to time some animals must die in order to save the many. It’s just one of those hard facts that just has to be accepted even if the practice of killing all those animals makes one nauseous.
Because depopulation of animals is needed from time to time, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) established a working group to create standards to guide depopulation efforts. Their goal was to establish some principles and preferred methods to do this awful work in a manner that would be both effective but cause the least amount of suffering to the animals concerned and avoid harming non-targeted animals. I was grateful to be invited to participate in the creation of this document. It is an honor to be part of a publication that will guide the actions of agencies and wildlife control personnel tasked with performing mass depopulations of wildlife.
The document is called the AVMA Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals 2019. It has just been made available. You can download your copy at https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/depopulation-guidelines.aspxStephen M. Vantassel, CWCP, ACE, is the owner of Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. He helps people restore their balance with nature through publishing, training, consulting, and the internet. He has published numerous articles in trade and academic publications along with several books (http://kingsdivinity.academia.edu/StephenMVantassel). He is a sought after speaker and trainer. Copyright All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.