On Farm Euthanasia of Swine -
Options for the Producer

When a pig is ill or injured, a producer must decide to either treat, slaughter, sell or euthanize the animal on-farm. The American Association of Swine Practitioners and the National Pork Producers Council has put together a handbook of on-farm euthanasia methods for swine producers.

The handbook describes several methods of on-farm euthanasia in detail. It is designed to assist producers in making decisions about euthanasia while considering pig welfare, economics and public health.

Producers should discuss on-farm euthanasia with their veterinarian and fill out the Euthanasia Action Plan. The details outlined in the action plan should be reviewed at least once per year with the veterinarian and the information shared with all employees.

Table 1.
Examples of Specific Euthanasia Methods for Swine

  Gunshot Penetrating Captive Bolt Blunt trauma
Human Safety Moderate to high, training needed, security of firearms Moderate to high, training needed Very low



Good, need correct placement Good, correct placement essential Good if performed in small pigs with rapid force strong enough for instantaneous death
Skill Required Moderate Moderate Low, proper training required
Cost Moderate, initial cost of firearm Moderate, initial cost of captive bolt gun None
Affects Discharge of blood from wound Discharge of blood from wound, should be followed by severing a major artery in adult animals May be emotionally unacceptable
Restrictions Some skill and training required, not for small pigs Some skill and training required, not for small pigs Only applicable to small pigs



Euthanasia Action Plan

Farm Name:______________________________


Drafted By:________________________________

Phase of Production

Euthanasia Method

Alternative Method

Nursing Piglets (<12 lb. or 5.5 kg.)    
Nursery (<70 lb. or 32 kg.)    
Grow/Finish (up to 300 kg. or 136 kg.)    
Mature Animals (sows, boars)    



For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Penny Lawlis / Humane Standards Officer/Veterinary Services Unit/ Animal Health and Welfare Branch/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 01 June 2000
Last Reviewed: 25 June 2009