Humane Euthanasia and Carcass Disposal

Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract. 2018 Jul;34(2):355-374. doi: 10.1016/j.cvfa.2018.03.004.


Euthanasia is ending life in a way that minimizes or eliminates pain and distress. It requires techniques that induce loss of consciousness followed by cardiac and respiratory arrest and loss of brain function. Although euthanasia is the objective for uncontrollable animal suffering, it is not always possible. Euthanasia of animals using barbiturates or barbituric acid derivatives is impractical for situations that require mass euthanasia of multiple animals. Selection of the most appropriate disposal method depends on number of carcasses, potential environmental impact, climatic conditions, and other factors. Preplanning and training are requirements for proper application of euthanasia procedures and disposal of carcasses.

Keywords: Bovine; Burial; Carcass disposal; Composting; Euthanasia; Humane; Incineration; Rendering.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Animals
  • Euthanasia, Animal / methods*
  • Refuse Disposal / methods*