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AVMA releases latest version of euthanasia guidelines

New euthanasia guidelines complement other AVMA resources in its "Humane Endings" policy series.

The American Veterinary Medical Assn. (AVMA) released Jan. 15 the latest version of its "Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals."

According to the AVMA announcement, the 2020 guidelines feature the latest research, information and member input to provide veterinarians with science-based and practically sound guidance for relieving the suffering and pain of animals to be euthanized.

The new guidelines are an update to AVMA’s 2013 version and are available on the AVMA website at avma.org/euthanasia.

Originally published in 1963, AVMA said its euthanasia guidelines "are globally recognized as representing best practices in humanely ending animals’ lives when necessary." The new guidelines are one of the three resources that comprise AVMA’s Humane Endings policy series, which includes the "AVMA Guidelines for the Humane Slaughter of Animals" and the "AVMA Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals."

Now in its ninth edition, the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals covers a multitude of species and methods and includes information about animals' physiologic and behavioral responses to euthanasia, euthanasia's effects on those performing and observing it and the feasibility and impacts of various euthanasia approaches.

AVMA said the guidelines are intended to support veterinarians, who must then use their professional judgment in applying the information to the various settings where animals are to be euthanized.

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