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The principles of humane killing

Laboratory animals are killed for a variety of reasons, for example, to allow tissues to be taken for ex-vivo studies, to prevent pain and distress when a humane endpoint of a study has been reached, or when breeding programs result in over-production of some animals.

“Euthanasia” means a gentle or easy death, and the method selected must result in the minimum amount of pain and distress. This requires not only the careful choice of method, and its correct application, but also the careful management of animals before and during the procedure. In many instances, the scientific requirements of a study must be considered alongside the welfare concerns to ensure that death is as free from pain and distress as possible.


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Updated on 12th May 2020

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