The AVMA guidelines refer to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) publication entitled, AVMA Guidelines for Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition (AVMA.org). The AVMA Guidelines are the result of work performed by the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia. This working committee reads the scientific literature and uses 14-point criteria to establish the best practices for killing animals in the least painful/stressful way possible. The panel periodically updates the standards every few years. Previous standards were published in 1986, 1993, 2000, 2011, and 2013.
Since the AVMA guidelines are considered by researchers, animal activists, and the public to constitute the platinum standard for euthanasia, many wildlife control operators (WCO) state that they and their respective companies follow AVMA guidelines when euthanizing animals. But is this in fact true?
Does Your WCO Follow AVMA Guidelines?
I suggest that many WCOs do not follow the AVMA guidelines, at least not as the AVMA has presented them. The issue lies in a lack of awareness of what the AVMA guidelines actually are. For instance, the AVMA says that euthanasia (good death) must be done for the benefit of the animal AND in a manner that is free of suffering. Clearly, WCOs are not killing animals for their benefit. Thus, by AVMA standards, WCOs are not following the standard. What WCOs should say is that they use the techniques approved by the AVMA euthanasia panel. That would be far more accurate or should I say, likely.
If your WCO says he/she follows AVMA guidelines for animal euthanasia, be aware that the WCO likely does not understand exactly what the AVMA standards for euthanasia are. Instead, interpret the WCO’s comment as referring to the technique(s) used to kill the animal.Stephen 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 (http://kingsdivinity.academia.edu/StephenMVantassel) along with several books (https://wildlifecontrolconsultant.com/store-2/). Listen to his podcast at PestGeek Podcast (https://pestgeekpodcast.com/). He is a sought after speaker and trainer. If you would like to have Stephen speak at your event or use his consultation services, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.