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Timeliness Key to Ensuring Humane Euthanasia of Pigs

23 November 2015, at 12:00am

CANADA - An animal welfare specialist with J. Woods Livestock Services says when to euthanize is among the most difficult decisions those who care for livestock must make, writes Bruce Cochrane.

"The Why, When and How of Euthanasia" was among the topics discussed this week as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2015 in Saskatoon.

Jennifer Woods, an animal welfare specialist with J. Woods Livestock Services, acknowledges euthanasia isn't something everybody likes to do but, while it's not a pleasant part of the job, it's it is a necessary part of the job.

Jennifer Woods-J. Woods Livestock Services:

Timeliness of euthanasia is one of the most vulnerable parts of our industry right now for all of our species groups, making sure that we are euthanizing animals in a timely manner.

There's so many different things you look at, the amount of suffering the animal is going through, can they access food and water, what are their chance of recovery, what's their quality of life going to be after recovery?

If you can't ship an animal, we have very strict standards on what should be shipped and they need to be euthanized.

I do a lot of animal welfare auditing and it is still one of our critical areas out there is making sure we do it in a timely manner.

There's 3 things I ask producers. We have all these flow charts and decisions trees that drive me nuts.

I'm not a decision tree person and you know, there this, bla bla bla. I ask 3 simple questions.

First one, will they be able to walk off the trailer, not can they walk on but will they be able to walk off?

Two, look at it and ask yourself would you eat it? If you knew how sick it had been, would you eat it?

Number 3 is if that animal showed up on YouTube with your farm name on the side of it would you be proud of her?

I think if you answer no to any of those questions that's the easiest way you can determine whether that animal should go on the trailer or not.

Woods says, when it comes to euthanasia, through education and awareness we can make people more comfortable with the decisions making process and with the process itself.

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