On May 19, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) board of directors issued a new position statement on "Strategies for Responding to Processing Disruption Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic," that reads:
"Swine producers should work with their veterinarian to develop situation-specific strategies to deliver optimal care for pigs affected by the processing disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In exercising their professional responsibilities, veterinarians should ensure:
- Actions are consistent with veterinary professional obligations and conform to acceptable standards of veterinary practice and available scientific literature;
- Actions optimize the health, safety and welfare outcomes for the animals and humans within the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, and
- Actions are consistent with applicable federal, state and local regulations.
If depopulation must be considered, veterinarians should reference the 'American Veterinary Medical Assn.'s Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals'. Priority should be given to those methods classified 'Preferred,' but the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 processing disruption may require the use of methods classified as 'Permitted in Constrained Circumstances.'
Approved by the AASV board of directors on May 19, 2020."
AASV noted that the American Veterinary Medical Assn. has developed a flowchart to assist veterinarians in evaluating emergency euthanasia or depopulation and provides guidance on the process for navigating through the categories of depopulation methods.
AASV said more recommendations for the depopulation of swine can be found at aasv.org/resources/welfare/depopulation_recommendations.pdf. This series of fact sheets provides additional information on considerations to make when choosing a method and details for implementing the chosen method.
More COVID-19-related resources for producers and the industry, including resources for well-being, veterinary practice, crisis planning and animal welfare, can be found at aasv.org/resources/publichealth/covid19.