A pork checkoff-funded webinar last month highlighted results of more than $500,000 in research to identify and validate methods of euthanasia for swine.

More than 100 veterinarians, producers and researchers logged onto the webinar for the Euthanasia Research Review Workshop.

Presenters offered advice on application methods and gave perspectives on future areas of research. Their presentations covered electric, captive-bolt, carbon dioxide and mixed-gas methods of euthanasia as follows:

  • Sarah Probst-Miller, DVM, Carthage (IL) Veterinary Service, Ltd. evaluated the use of electricity as a means of euthanasia for pigs weighing less than 10 lb.
  • Suzanne Millman, DVM, of Iowa State University evaluated the use of penetrating and non-penetrating captive-bolt guns as a single-step method of euthanasia. The research was designed to identify the force required to immediately render the animal unconscious, resulting in death for suckling, nursery, finisher and adult pigs.
  • Terry Engle of Colorado State University analyzed the effectiveness of using a high-altitude hypobaric chamber as a humane form of euthanasia. Engle reported the rate of administration is crucial for the well-being of the pig and indicated further investigation is required for this method to be considered humane.
  • Mhairi Sutherland, DVM, of AgResearch New Zealand and Larry Sadler of Iowa State University have investigated the use of carbon dioxide and other gas mixtures for euthanasia. Their research data would suggest that using a pre-filled method or faster flow rates provides better well-being for the pig.

The National Pork Board and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians will evaluate the results of these ongoing research projects and determine if any changes to current recommendations are required. Updates will be posted on www.pork.org.

For more information on euthanasia, please reference the On-Farm Euthanasia of Swine Booklet available on the Web site or contact Sherrie Niekamp, Pork Checkoff’s director of Swine Welfare at SNiekamp@pork.org or call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675.