Carbon Dioxide System for on-farm Euthanasia of Pigs in Small Groups

A detailed description of an effective carbon dioxide application system and method are provided by researchers at North Carolina State University so farmers can construct the low-cost system.
calendar icon 21 October 2014
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Certain swine farm operations require the regular euthanising 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, explain Mark Rice of North Carolina State University and co-authors there and Mississippi State University.

In Journal of Swine Health and Production, they explain that 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 method for mass depopulation of swine in the case of an exigent situation.

This paper details a method for adapting that carbon dioxide 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 carbon dioxide cylinder and a small euthanasia chamber, which can be a small dump-type trailer to allow easy transport to a disposal site.

Rice and co-authors provide a detailed description of the carbon dioxide application system and method so that producers can construct a suitable system from readily available low-cost components.


Rice M., C. Baird, L. Stikeleather, W.E.M. Morrow and R. Meyer. 2014. Carbon dioxide system for on-farm euthanasia of pigs in small groups. J. Swine Health Prod. 22(5):248–254.

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October 2014

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