Pork Producers Urged to Document Euthanasia Plans

CANADA - A scientist is encouraging swine producers to develop and document plans for euthanising compromised animals on their farms, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 7 May 2015
clock icon 3 minute read

Section 6 of Canada's newly revised Pig Code of Practice outlines new standards for on farm euthanasia including acceptable methods, planning and decision making and confirmation of death.

Dr Craig Wilkinson, the director of animal care with the University of Alberta's Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, told those taking part in Alberta Pork's monthly town hall update last week, that farms need to ensure there's a well thought through euthanasia plan.

Dr Craig Wilkinson-University of Alberta:

That's a way of ensuring that there's consistency regarding when and for what reasons euthanasia is to be applied, who is going to make that decision and who is going to do it, and how it's going to be done at different various stages of the animal.

Many people probably have thought this through but maybe haven't documented it.

Under the code of practice it's encouraged that you should have a well documented plan that actually writes down and specifies each of those things.

It's really important because that way you get a diligent proactive application of euthanasia and you follow the criteria early enough that you avoid welfare concerns.

Really when you're dealing with euthanasia, you never have a perfect way of defining when the perfect time to euthanise the animal is.

You can figure out perhaps after the fact that, hey that was too late or you can say you know maybe I erred on the side of caution. I was a little too early.

From a welfare perspective it's probably better to err on the side of ensuring that we don't do it too late.

That's really what the planning is all about, is making sure that we can do the best we can to define the best time to do it but knowing that there's just no way to know the perfect time.

Dr Wilkinson says your euthanasia plan should clearly describe methods based on the age and size of the animal, define how the animal should be restrained, outline equipment and how it will be maintained and address the human safety aspects.

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