Humane Euthanization

Rabbits Online Forum

Help Support Rabbits Online Forum:


Autumn - Administrator
May 25, 2008
Reaction score
London / North Bay, Ontario, Canada
[align=left]Also See:

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.

What Is It? : Euthanasia

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,
consider the possibility that breeding is not for you .
OR, be prepared to use a veterinarian.

Our rabbits deserve the very best in humane euthanization.

[/b][/size][/align][align=left]Recommended Articles: [/align]

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.)

euthanization, euthanasia, kill, cull, humane, AVMA

Copyright Autumn Gambles (2012) - Reproduced with Permission.
Last edited: