Discussion in 'The Rabbitry and Show Room' started by NorthernAutumn, May 18, 2012.

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  1. May 18, 2012 #1




    Autumn - Administrator

    May 25, 2008
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    London / North Bay, Ontario, Canada
    WARNING: Content is not suitable for all readers.
    The following description provides information about humane euthanization practices.

    Euthanization by the inexperienced novice can result in trauma to both rabbit and human.

    As such, euthanization by a veterinary professional is strongly encouraged. All breeders should consult with their veterinarian for further information.

    Euthanasia is defined as a pain-free and/or stress-free death.
    There are very specific humane methods that meet the definition of euthanasia.
    It is the RESPONSIBILITY of all breeders to practice humane euthanization as necessary.

    The following methods are suggested by the AVMA, and respected breeders. The following acceptable methods provide the most pain-free, stress-free death (from the rabbit's standpoint)

    (in order of most humane to acceptable)

    - Barbiturates, inhalant anesthetics, CO2, CO, potassium chloride in conjunction with general anesthesia, N2, Ar (AS APPLIED BY VETERINARIAN.)

    - blunt force head trauma (hammer)
    - gunshot (slug) (Above and behind crown, between ears)
    - penetrating captive bolt
    - cervical dislocation (< 1 kg) (pull [not twist] to break neck)
    - decapitation (sever spinal cord at neck)

    For Kits:
    - cervical dislocation
    - blunt force head trauma

    The following methods are inhumane in terms of pain and stress. All of these are exceptionally cruel.

    - Freezing - very painful, extremities will freeze before death by suffocation.
    - Drowning -
    - Microwave
    - Electrocution
    - Dry Ice
    - Injection of toxic household fluids into body
    - Ether
    - Live snake food
    - Set free

    "It's too messy! OMG, too traumatic for me! I wouldn't be able to do it!"

    None of the above are valid excuses. The acceptable options may not be pretty, but they are the methods that spare your rabbits pain and suffering.

    If you cannot put your feelings of ICK aside for those of your rabbit, breeding is not for you .

    Alternately, prepare to invest significantly in your local veterinarian.

    Our rabbits deserve the very best in humane euthanization.

    Please read: Humane Rabbit Euthanization (Debbie Brown) for details.

    AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia (2007)

    (General Rule of Thumb: "If you put your dog down using this method, would you be arrested for cruelty to animals?" Same applies to your rabbit. Work to that standard.)
  2. Feb 15, 2015 #2




    New Member

    Feb 15, 2015
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    The BCSPCA also states that the blunt force, cervical dislocation, penetrating captive bolt must be followed by immediate decapitation.
  3. May 10, 2018 #3




    Active Member

    Jan 23, 2018
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    If you can’t do it yourself you could also just take the rabbit to the vet.
  4. Sep 12, 2019 #4





    Aug 13, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Houston, Texas, USA
    *hug* to anyone who has to do this... it's definitely not for everyone and can be emotional for even those who are capable of setting aside squeamishness for the good of an animal!

    I'm not technically a breeder, but hubby and I occasionally let our diamond doves/society finches hatch eggs (permanently adding their offspring to our large animal family). Our first pair of diamond doves bred successfully a couple times... but then there came a day a few years ago when they had two little beebs (closing in on 2 weeks old) when the father (Jay-bird) was unexpectedly found dead at the bottom of their aviary. I did my best to offer supportive care; feeding the babies and "babysitting" to make sure mom could get off the nest to eat/drink/potty... but a couple days after dad died, I found one of the babies dead in the nest with what appeared to be a broken neck. I suspected that Tabitha knew they were about to fledge and increase their demands for food and decided she couldn't keep up, so she killed one.

    I hoped that Tabitha would be more confident she could care for a single offspring, plus I upped my game as pseudo-father to the remaining baby... but then the next day, I found the remaining baby in the nest... it was very much alive, yet clearly had a broken neck (head flopped to the side in a very unnatural way). The little beeb was alert and active; surprisingly, it didn't appear in shock or anything... but at the same time, it seemed confused with the new perspective on life caused by its head being flopped over. It kept peeping softly as though it were asking me to help/to fix the problem (which was rather heartbreaking, since I knew I couldn't do anything for it).

    There was no hope for the baby bird, yet it didn't seem anywhere close to death. My objective assessment was that since the baby wasn't going into shock, it could easily take hours or even a day for it to die naturally (most likely of thirst or hunger). With our tight budget, though, we couldn't really afford a vet trip for simple euthanasia on an animal that I believed, scientifically, I could humanely kill myself.

    I am "mommy" to all of our animals and based on the example set by my own mother (especially after my dad died), I learned (growing up) that "mommy"'s job is to do whatever is necessary to take care of and provide for her family without regard for her own emotions or desires. ...And so, I took the tiny, baby bird outside where my husband was none-the-wiser... I talked to it for a minute; apologizing for how unfair life can be and explaining the justification for my actions... and then I used the "cervical dislocation" method to finish what Tabitha had started.

    The beeb died pretty much instantly... after which, I had to go explain to my husband what had transpired. I knew he'd understand the necessity of my actions; I just felt it would be easier on him if he didn't know what was going on until it was already done. He's one of those people who I seriously doubt would be capable of being "cruel" to be kind.

    My apologies for the lengthy tangent; my point is this: we humans have a certain responsibility to the animals in our care. There are inevitably situations where it is necessary to put your own qualms aside and do what's in the best interest of the animal... even if it breaks your heart a little. Take comfort in being able to understand that you've done a kindness, even if it doesn't always feel that way in the moment. Know that sometimes, in causing yourself pain, you can spare an animal pain (in other words, a sacrifice for the greater good)... and know that you're not alone in your heartbreak. There are others here who have been in your shoes. I could never have explained to that baby bird that I killed it to spare it pain... yet I've never had even a moment of regret for my actions because I know in my heart that I did the right thing.
    Alyssa and Bugs♡ likes this.

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